The New Silk Road is here to stay

The New Silk Road is here to stay

03 November 2020

Four years after its foundation, New Silk Way Logistics has become the market leader in temperature-controlled transport on the New Silk Road and the future outlook for continued growth is bright. The partnership between KLG Europe and H.Essers is fully committed to sustainable transport by rail to and from China. In the next 1.5 years, the company wants to have its own conditioned train.

Source: Nieuwsblad Transport

At a time when many transport companies are struggling to make ends meet due to related corona measures, New Silk Way Logistics dares to invest fully in the future. The company continues to show double digit growth. From one container in 2016 to a fleet of around two hundred conditioned, modified 45ft containers in 2020. That is roughly half of the total volume, in addition to dry cargo 40ft and 20ft containers. "The corona crisis has virtually shut down air freight. An good addition to air freight is transport by rail. Companies are beginning to understand that the alternative transport mode can result in cost reductions and environmental gains, "explains Oscar Vermeij, managing director of New Silk Way Logistics.

Temperature control

New Silk Way Logistics transports almost all types of cargo, but is particularly keen on and specialized in temperature-controlled transport. There are hardly any companies that dare to do this. The extreme conditions (-40, +40 degrees Celsius) along the New Silk Road require temperature-controlled containers that can adapt to several severe weather conditions. Success therefore stands or falls with the right equipment, a new type of unit is now being tested in relation with the University of Wageningen. We now have our own containers that, thanks to the equipment, ensure that the quality of the cargo is guaranteed, "says Hanno Reeser, strategic development director at H.Essers.

Own train

New Silk Way Logistics attaches great importance to have the transport in own control to be able to guarantee an optimum service level. That is the reason why the company manages its own equipment where possible. For example, New Silk Way Logistics can communicate with its 24/7 control tower via two-way communication, and they can also remotely control the container units via the app. "It pays off to invest in this, especially regarding the sensitive method of transport. There is a lot involved”, says Vermeij.

"Transport volumes between Venlo / Genk and Shanghai will further increase in the coming years. China wants to trade more with Europe. That is the future for us. We do not want to dependent on third parties and therefore we will do everything with our own equipment. In a year to a year and a half, we hope to have our own temperature-controlled block train ", says Erik Loijen, CEO of KLG Europe.

The company is really committed to the quality of the transport. Loijen: "We really feel responsible for the cargo. When something should not go according to plan then we take our responsibility." Over the past four years, the company has built up a large and reliable maintenance network. At all stages of transportation and basically at any point along the route maintenance can be performed within a small timeframe. Is maintenance required in Belarus or Kazachstan? Our team of local  technicians are never far away in order to do their job."


The partnership between KLG and H.Essers did not just happen four years ago. Both companies identified the demand for transport to and from China would continue to increase and thus joined forces. "We knew each other well and that gives us confidence," says Reeser. "The most important basis for starting such a project. We each keep our own identity, but we also invest a lot of time and energy in this partnership. We don't see this as a temporary project, New Silk Way Logistics is really something for the long term. It is unbelievable how much governments are investing in the Silk Road. When we saw the terminal in Kazakhstan, we were immediately impressed. This market is here to stay. "

And it shows. Because where in the beginning KLG and H.Essers took a calculated risk of losing customers by taking part in this adventure, there is no turning back today. "The risk has been adverted and has turned into an opportunity. If we stop doing this now, we have the risk of losing customers. We have greatly expanded the service with existing customers, "says Loijen.


A new modality has emerged with rail transport. Reeser: "We have zero-emissions. To control the temperature in the containers we use a diesel engine powered by bio diesel. This amongst other benefits makes rail transport much more sustainable than any other available modality. "

Initially, there was mainly one-way transport from China. Containers would returned empty towards its origin. New Silk Way Logistics is taking more and more loads from Europe to Asia. The balance between import and export is being reduced. "Think of the transport of chemicals, pharmaceuticals products, milk powder or chocolate. The Chinese love the latter, "says Vermeij.

Due to its success, transport via the New Silk Road is also getting expanding towards other countries in Asia. "We are no longer just going to China, but also to countries such as Vietnam, Japan, Korea and Cambodia. Everyone sees that rail transport is the future, "the gentlemen of New Silk Way Logistics conclude.