COSCO Shipping Car Carriers starts test shipment via Bremerhaven in cooperation with BLG Logistics. Approx. 5.6% of total Chinese car exports in H1 transported by rail
(Photo: BLG Logistics)

Last week the RoRo Carrier MV COSCO SHENGSHI moored in the North Port of Bremerhaven, starting a first test shipment to expand the service to Europe. COSCO currently has 24 new RoRo Car Carriers in its order book, which are scheduled for delivery from mid-2024. In the future, the fleet will consist of 29 vessels.

“Bremerhaven will be an important port of entry for COSCO Shipping Carriers for Europe and we are looking forward to a good cooperation with our local partners like BLG to offer comprehensive and efficient logistics solutions to our customers,” says Vincent Xu, Managing Director COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers (Europe).

During this test run, the BLG AutoTerminal Bremerhaven team was responsible for unloading, handling and staging for forwarding 530 import vehicles. “We are very pleased that the shipping company COSCO Shipping Car Carriers has chosen Bremerhaven. This is an important impulse for future imports from China,” explains Axel Bantel, Managing Director of Sales at BLG Automobile Logistics. And he continues: “Chinese manufacturers continue to gain in importance. As an important hub for the international automotive industry, we want and need to participate in this development.”

According to COSCO Shipping Car Carriers, the port of Bremerhaven is the last stop on the maiden voyage of the European liner “COSCO Shengshi”. A total of 3,731 Chinese-made commercial vehicles, including more than 2,700 new energy vehicles, were loaded at the ports of Shanghai and Xiamen on this voyage. It left the port of Xiamen on the evening of 10 July, crossed the Indian Ocean and the Suez Canal, and called at ports in the UK, Belgium, and Germany in a 43-day voyage.

According to the general manager of an automobile transport company in Guangdong, it is currently difficult to book space on ro-ro ships and the freight rate is high; it is relatively easy to book space on containers and the freight rate is not so expensive, but the loading and unloading operation is complicated and prone to cargo damage; for rail transport from China to Europe, there is insufficient shipping space and the cost is high.

New energy vehicles waiting for export at the Khorgos railway port in Xinjiang (Photo:

Statistics from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers(CAAM) show that China exported 2.14 million vehicles in the first half of the year, up 75.7% year on year. Among them, the number of new energy vehicles was 534,000, an increase of 1.6 times year-on-year.

Following the lifting of restrictions on the transport of new energy vehicles on China-Europe freight trains in October 2022, many car OEMs have also set their sights on rail transport. According to data released by China State Railway Group, China-Europe freight trains shipped a total of 119,000 complete vehicles in the first half of 2023. A comparison of data shows that cars shipped by railway account for about 5.6% of total car exports.