The coronavirus and restrictions implemented to fight with the pandemic have affected many industries. It has disturbed the supply chain, forcing a part of the transportation of goods to halt. As the COVID-19 subsides in China, many businesses have resumed work. Even Wuhan, considered to be the epicenter of the coronavirus, has reconnected with the rest of the world. In March 2020, the first freight train departed from Wuhan since the outbreak heading to Duisburg in Germany.
Rail traffic between the Port of Duisburg and Wuhan resumed
Duisburg Inner Harbor is the largest inland port in the world. For decades, Duisburg has maintained a friendly relationship with Wuhan. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, China’s province Hubei, as well as its capital Wuhan, were cut off from passenger and goods transport for about two months. In late March 2020, the ban was lifted, and transportation was resumed.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals in many countries report medical equipment shortages. Therefore, a part of the first train freight from Wuhan to Duisburg was medicine and protective clothing for hospitals in Germany. Aside from that, there were car parts, fiber optic cables, and electronics. Approximately forty trains are to travel between Duisburg and China every week. It perfectly shows the growth of China-German relations; a few years ago, there were only trains from Chongqing to Duisburg three times a week.
Port of Duisburg experienced a significant drop in goods coming in from Asian countries, especially from China; hence the CEO of the port hopes to return to the previous level of trade with China. The resumption of international rail transport from Hubei is crucial for both parties. International trade is, after all, an important part of strengthening the bond among people and businesses. German companies want to expand their businesses in China; likewise, Chinese companies invest in Germany. Duisburg is the gateway for China to Europe and an essential hub for the “One Belt – One Road” initiative, bringing value to the European market.