Georgia and Germany create new rail connection from China to Europe

Germany’s Foreign Minister and Georgia’s Economy Minister attended the MoU signing ceremony today. Photo by Georgia's Ministry of Economy., 01 Jul 2016 - 16:07, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia and Germany are deepening bilateral ties to improve international foreign transport and consultancy services for a wide range of transport-related projects over the coming five years.

Today the two countries’ national rail operators, Deutsche Bahn (DB) and Georgian Railways, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and agreed to expand the scope of their strategic cooperation activities.

DB and Georgian Railways plan to work together to create a new rail connection from China to Europe via central Asia and Georgia, thereby opening up a new route as an additional option for customers seeking an overland connection.

We are proud that DB has the chance to contribute to the renaissance and modernisation of the ancient communication routes between the continents. With a rail history reaching back to 1871, Georgia has a key role to play in this undertaking,” said Ronald Pofalla, Member of the Management Board for Economic, Legal, and Regulatory Affairs at DB.

In March 2016 DB signed an agreement with Chinese national operator, China Railways, to expand the rail connections between Europe and China. Following the deal, DB wanted to make the most of the opportunity afforded by China’s Silk Road initiative, ‘One Belt – One Road’, said Pofalla. This project envisioned a whole array of infrastructural undertakings covering a total of 65 countries.

The MoU was signed by chairman of Georgian Railways Mamuka Bakhtadze and Niko Warbanoff of DB. Photo by Georgia's Ministry of Economy.

In another move, DB and Georgian Railways started cooperating on planning the development of rail freight links between Europe and Iran, with Georgia as a transit country.

DB said extending the rail connection to India was an option for the future.

Meanwhile in Georgia, experts at DB’s subsidiary DB E&C will support Georgian Railways to organise and produce rail services, reform its rail system’s structure root-and-branch, and modernise and maintain rail technology including the company’s vehicle fleet.

The MoU between Georgian Railways and DB was signed within the Georgia visit of Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The German official, together with Georgia’s Economy Minister Dimitry Kumsishvili, were involved at the MoU signing ceremony today.

The partnership was signed by chairman of Georgian Railways Mamuka Bakhtadze and Niko Warbanoff of DB.