Photo caption from left to right: General Manager Mr. Zhou of CIPI (Chengdu International Railway Port Investment & Development Group), Director Containers Mr. Nagtegaal of Port of Rotterdam, Economic Counsellor Mr. Zhou. Zhang of the Chinese Embassy, Mayor Weterings, Party Secretary Mr. Peng of Sichuan Province, Director Mr. Glaudemans of the Province of Noord-Brabant, Head of Security, Mr. Hondebrink Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Works, Director Mr. Versteijnen of GVT Group of Logistics.
In 2016, the direct train connection from Tilburg to China was officially opened. Now, after 2.5 years, a total of 800 outward and return journeys from NL to China have been made. Reason enough to confirm the successful cooperation between Tilburg, Port of Rotterdam and the province of Sichuan in Tilburg with a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding). On 21 May 2019, Railport Brabant announced its intention to further stimulate the economically promising growth of the train connection.
The Chengdu-Tilburg-Rotterdam-Express currently runs three times a week in 15 days via Kazakhstan and Moscow between the two cities, under the direction of the GVT Group of Logistics and CDiRS. The 'west-bound' route is still full (from China to the Netherlands), on the 'east-bound' route there is still space, about 20%, says Roland Verbraak, Intermodal Director at GVT Transport & Logistics B.V. Theo Weterings, mayor of Tilburg, is proud: "Thanks to this train connection, the logistics sector in the region is flourishing like never before". This also appears to be the case, since the Tilburg-Waalwijk region was recently proclaimed logistics hotspot nr.1 of the Netherlands. China is also interested in further cooperation. "The region has great potential in the development from road to rail, which is very important for the reduction of CO2.
In the meantime, GVT is not sitting still either. This Tilburg logistics master (925 employees, 1,500,000 successfully delivered shipments and 250,000 TEU containers transported per year) opened an office in Chengdu last year and a large Holland Pavilion where Dutch companies can show their goods. Roland Verbraak: "Recently there is also a cooperation with CCIC (China Certification & Inspection Group) which makes it easier for SMEs to distribute their products to China. This cooperation gives SMEs the opportunity to reach a market of 90 million consumers."
Chengdu is a fast growing city in China, an important centre for entrepreneurs, logistics and transport. Tilburg maintains close ties with Chengdu, located in the province of Sichuan. Mr. Peng Qinghua, Party Secretary of Sichuan Provincial CPC Committee and host of this event indicated that there is enormous growth potential and is therefore pleased with the cooperation and the intention to grow together. "This is the start of a new era for a better tomorrow."
Part of the ceremony was the signing of a MOU, signed by Wil Versteijnen, CEO of GVT, Mr. Junbo Zhou, General Manager of Chengdu International Railway Port Investment & Development Group and Hans Nagtegaal, Director Containers at Port of Rotterdam. Just after the signing, a social sofa from Tilburg's brokerage was unveiled in which the train connection was visualized with mosaic, followed by an official moment in which a red ribbon was cut, after which the Chengdu-Tilburg-Rotterdam-Express departed in the background for the 3500th ride. On to a promising future!
(Pictures by: Bram Delmee).