The new CFL multimodal truck and rail platform in Bettembourg-Dudelange was inaugurated in July 2017
Photo: LaLa La Photo/archives
Rail freight traffic between Henan Province in China and western Europe is expected to increase by 40% from 2017 to 2018 but Luxembourg has yet to get involved.
Infrastructure minister François Bausch (déi Gréng) said in answer to a parliamentary question published on 19 November that the number of freight trains between the two regions should rise from 500 to 700 by the end of 2018.
Luxembourg had expected to become a major European hub for rail freight from the province, which is known for its high-tech, retail and heavy industry, after CFL and Zhengzhou International Hub Development and Construction Co signed an MoU for a dual hub strategy, establishing regular air and rail freight link between the two. Air links through Cargolux had already been established around five years earlier.
The way seemed to be clear to test the link when in July 2017 Luxembourg inaugurated the new CFL multimodal truck and rail platform in Bettembourg-Dudelange. Its rail logistics network means cargo can be moved by rail to Spain, Italy, Turkey, the UK, Scandinavian countries and, since May 2017, Britanniadock in Zeebrugge in Belgium and Champigneules in France.
But, trains from China have yet to use the line. In July 2018, a test-run between Luxembourg and Henan Province was announced using the rail network in Russia. At the time, Bausch said that two big companies were interested in operating the line.
In his recent parliamentary question response to a question from Gusty Graas (DP), Bausch said there was space and even a need for other locations to get in on the Chinese rail opportunities since the traditional arrival locations of Hambourg and Duisbourg were “relatively congested and Chinese actors are today looking for new sites to complement existing sites.”
He added that for Luxembourg to become a player it needed to be competitive in terms of pricing. “The price of the service being one of the key criteria for Chinese partners.” Attracting international partners was also critical.