Nowhere else has the unique mix of logistics facilities available in Luxembourg. Many places are in the centre of the high production area of western Europe, but none have the range of capabilities that come from having such highly committed government support. François Bausch, the minister responsible for this sector, explained.
What logistics options are available in Luxembourg?
We have good connections by air, road, rail and river. We already have good infrastructure and we are investing all the time to keep improving. The airport is world class and is a European leader for cargo. There are rail links in all directions to Germany, France, Belgium and the North Sea ports. We are investing heavily in the high tech multi-modal rail transport hub in Bettembourg in the south of the country. Then the river port at Mertert on the Moselle links the country to the Rhine and hence the European inland waterway network.
What is the potential for rail logistics?
We see a lot of potential for rail, even if for now, our being at the centre of the western European road network is highly important for the air cargo and wider logistics industry. We are very excited by the plans of Deutsche Bahn, the German national rail carrier, to organise services from Zhengzhou in China to Hamburg in Germany. The journey takes two weeks and this is faster than going by boat, costs the same and is more efficient and flexible. This shows what is possible and we want to be a part of this trend.
What are you doing to prepare for moves such as this?
We are investing heavily to facilitate multimodal, long-haul cargo. At the Bettembourg hub we have the capability to quickly transfer truck containers on and off trains from where they can we transferred in an efficient, ecological fashion. We already serve much of Europe like this, and there are plans to connect Istanbul. It is certainly possible that we could go further, serving the Silk Road to the Far East.
What are your experiences of working with China?
I greatly appreciate the Chinese culture of establishing personal contacts. I visit frequently because there is a lot of potential regarding logistics connections. It seems that as these personal relationships have developed, so this has helped us work together in numerous ways.
What can Luxembourg offer China regarding logistics?
There is a lot of excitement over the dual hub transport strategy, linking Luxembourg with the Zhengzhou in Henan Province. This should facilitate two-way trade between the EU and China. This comes on top of the many other business links that are growing, particularly in the financial sector. Overall, I think Chinese business people are likely to appreciate Luxembourg. They find a very politically stable place, that offers high quality services and where decision makers are easy to reach. Even the prime minister is ready to discuss business ideas at short notice.