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Deutsche Bahn intensifies its involvement in China

Deutsche Bahn (DB) and China Railways (CR) are stepping up their collaboration with each other.

The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Beijing on March 18, 2016. They resolved to cooperate more closely in three areas: rail freight transport between China and Germany, DB's consulting services for CR relating to high-speed train maintenance, and support for CR's infrastructure projects in other countries. DB's engineering expertise in particular is needed in this area.

"The People's Republic of China intends to invest over EUR 300 billion in its transport infrastructure," said Ronald Pofalla, Member of the Management Board of DB and responsible for international relationships. "As its partner, we can benefit from China's impressive growth story. Our commitment to the country will also strengthen our Group in our home market of Germany and will serve as an example of the worldwide demand for our expertise,“ he continued while at the MoU signing in Beijing.

Collaboration on the China Trains on the trans-Eurasian land bridge has been especially impressive. CR and DB want to more than triple the number of containers transported by rail from some 30,000 today to 100,000 by 2020. The first China Train began service on the world's longest rail link, which covers some 10,000 kilometers, in 2008. Roughly 400 trains made the journey last year.

Collaboration between CR and DB also will also focus on high-speed rail (HSR). CR operates a roughly 16,000 kilometer HSR network with over 1,200 trains. DB intends to make its knowledge available for servicing and maintenance support. In return, DB will be able to learn from CR's experience with the extremely high mileage of its high-speed trains and apply what it learns to its own fleet maintenance practices.

China wants to support infrastructure activities in over 65 countries with its "One Belt – One Road" Silk Road initiative. The partners are planning to collaborate on the development of infrastructure projects, and DB will contribute its engineering expertise.

Deutsche Bahn has had operations in China since 1966. Its logistics provider DB Schenker has over 5,000 employees in China. DB was also involved in construction of the Shanghai Metro, the development of China's high-speed network, and construction of the Shanghai Maglev Train. DB opened a purchasing office in Shanghai last year.