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MUNICH: May 03. China's news agency Xinhua reports BMW plans to increase its use of 'Silk Road' rail networks to ship components from Europe.

Khorgos Dry Port According to BMW sustainability and logistics planner Norbert Dierks, the car manufacturer has been using China Railway Express (CRE) since 2011 to supply its manufacturing plants with production materials, engine parts and after-sales components.

Dierks told Xinhua BMW had chosen CRE to save time versus ocean transport; costs versus air cargo; and a reduction in CO2 emissions versus the alternative transport modes.

"We used to carry our components to nearby harbors and transfer them via sea route, but we had some punctuality issues. And that's why we chose CRE as an alternative. It is always on time," Dierks is reported as saying.

He said using CRE had reduced delivery times between BMW's German plants and China's northeast region from 30 days in 2011 to around 17 days in 2016; and rail had also helped reduce the company's carbon emissions by 15,000 tons last year.

The China-Europe trains stop at the Khorgos Dry Port on the China/Kazakhstan border to transfer containers from China's rail gauge to that of the former Soviet era for the onward journey to Europe. The hub handled 73,000 containers last year, and expects the figure to be over 500,000 by 2020 with the rise in rail traffic between East and West.

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