dhl09 freightliner 02DHL Global Forwarding has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Kazakhstan’s national rail operator, Temir Zholy Express, for the provision of block train services on the land bridge connecting Europe and China.

DHL said the MOU would enhance greater rail connectivity and trade between China, Kazakhstan, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries and Europe, providing it with additional commercial block train services. The company added that the overland rail routes would be a complimentary alternative to traditional sea and air freight.

Temir Zholy Express will be responsible for operating rail activities from point to point as well as across the China/Kazakhstan borders. DHL will focus on developing its forwarding capabilities along crucial trading routes linking China, Kazakhstan and CIS countries while its partner will add several logistics service locations to its existing network.

“We have witnessed tremendous growth in rail freight between Asia and Europe over the last few years,” said Steve Huang, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding China, “and we see a lot of growth potential in many intermediate trade hubs such as Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan’s own economic development stands to benefit significantly from strong infrastructural links to China and the EU – its two largest trading partners. Transportation alone makes up more than 10% of the country’s services exports.”

The latest development builds on a strategic partnership that DHL’s freight division signed with United Transport and Logistics Company (UTLC) last year to develop rail forwarding services on the China-Europe route. UTLC is a joint-venture partnership between Russian Railways, Temir Zholy and Belarusian Railway. UTLC will operate as an integrated provider of logistics and container rail transport services between Europe and China.

As previously reported, DHL Global Forwarding has also begun a twice-weekly rail service between Zhengzhou in central-eastern China and Hamburg in Germany. The 17-day service, which will pass through Russia and Poland.

In other news, DHL Global Forwarding has appointed Thomas Tieber as CEO for ASEAN and South Asia. Tiebar moves from his role overseeing DHL Global Forwarding in South Asia where he managed Thailand and established operations in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In this newly expanded role, Thomas will also oversee Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, and other agent operations in ASEAN and South Asia. Based in Thailand, he will continue to report directly to Kelvin Leung, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific.