Monday, May 09, 2011

Antwerp beats Rotterdam in direct rail link to China?

Het Steen (literally: 'The Stone')
I just noted during lunch an interesting piece of news at the Belgium broadcaster VRT: the port city of Antwerp will get is direct railway connection with China. (Here in Dutch.) As long as I stayed in China, the Dutch port city Rotterdam was the one vying for a direct rail connection, but it looks like they have been beaten by Antwerp.

Main difference is that Rotterdam saw Shanghai as the targeted end destination of the line, while the 'Belgium' connection (it is actually run by the Swiss logistical company Hupac) ends in Chengdu. The land connection is not going to be cheaper, compared to container freight by sea, but will only cost half the time.

That news connects nicely with a report on AllRoadsLeadtoChina, noting that the Yangtze showed increased economic activity, including vessels carrying trucks between Shanghai and Chongqing to save costs. Since Chengdu and Chongqing are not that far apart, getting the missing link in place with the east coast could be easy. Has Rotterdam missed here a vital opportunity?

Update: Here is a direct link in English. I noted that in both the English and Dutch edition Chengdu has disappeared. Guess it was an initial misunderstanding.
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