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WARSAW: PKP Cargo, one of Europe's largest rail operators, has announced plans to run container trains from Zhengzhou in China's Henan Province to PKP's Małaszewice logistics center on the Polish and Belarusian border.

On June 16 the company signed an agreement with Zhengzhou International Hub Development - the operating company of the Zhengzhou-European International Shuttle Train – to set up a joint venture expanding the Malaszewice hub to handle as many as 300 trains a year from Zhengzhou.

"This unique agreement creates new opportunities for trade exchange with China," said PKP CEO Adam Purwin. "Thanks to [the acquisition] of the Czech AWT carrier we may offer our Chinese partners both complex logistics service of freight intended for Western Europe and access to the other markets of the Old Continents. Our cooperation creates also new development opportunities for export of the European goods on one of the largest global sales markets. This translates into new opportunities also for the Polish producers."

AWT trainIn May PKP acquired 80 percent of AWT, the second-largest rail freight operator in the Czech Republic for €103.2 million. The investment is the second largest by a Polish company in the Czech Republic and required approvals from antitrust authorities in Poland, Germany, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

"Rail transport is an optimal solution for many groups of cargo, for which air route is not cost effective and maritime transport takes too long," said Jacek Neska, member of the PKP Management Board. PKP is already handling block trains from Henan Province at Malaszewice where containers are transshipped onto a European rail gauge for onward delivery to Germany for a total transit time between 11 and 14 days.

In a coincident announcement, DHL Global Forwarding has begun a twice-weekly rail service in both directions between Zhengzhou and Hamburg via Poland. The new 17-day transit will offer both less-than-container load and a full-container option. The company now offers three regular multimodal rail services between China and Europe from Zhengzhou, Suzhou and Chengdu.

The new Zhengzhou-Hamburg service adds to a weekly scheduled block train along the trans-Kazakh West Corridor that originates from Chengdu to Lodz in Poland. Another weekly service routes via the trans-Siberian North Corridor and links Suzhou with Warsaw.

Steve Huang, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding China commented: "Zhengzhou, Suzhou and Chengdu are key economic centers of trade and development in China. Their strategic locations with close proximity to main Chinese cities of economic importance such as Shanghai, Nanjing, Dalian and Shenzhen are integral to a successful multimodal network spanning China to Europe."

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