Deutsche Bahn (DB) has reached an agreement with Georgian Railways to begin developing a new Silk Road rail link between China and Europe.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in Tbilisi on July 1 between Mamuka Bakhtadze, chief executive of Georgian Railways, and Niko Warbanoff, head of international business at Deutsche Bahn and chief executive of DB Engineering & Consulting.
In 2015, DB transported 30,000 containers by rail between China and Germany. It currently utilises North and South routes. The North route connects Berlin with the Russian Far East and includes links to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia and Beijing, China. The South route diverges from the North corridor at Yekaterinburg and terminates in Shanghai.
The proposed rail link [shown on the map below] would connect China with Europe, via Central Asia and Georgia.
Niko Warbanoff said: “We are pleased to participate in the implementation of the Silk Road initiative and thus to promote rail transport across borders. This gives us access to a large growth market in Asia.”
DB and Georgia Railways will also look to grow rail freight traffic between Europe, via Georgia, and Iran. The long-term aim would then be to extend the link to India.
The MoU will also see DB leverage its substantial engineering division to support the development and modernisation of Georgia’s domestic railway system, including upgrading its rolling stock fleet.