HAMBURG, Germany, May 30 (Xinhua) -- Besides existing strong ties with China, Germany's second largest city of Hamburg is searching for new cooperation opportunities with Chinese companies in the smart industry, said Director of Hamburg Invest Stefan Matz.
In a recent interview with Xinhua, Matz referred to Hamburg as "China's gateway to Europe," saying China plays a vital role in boosting Hamburg's port business.
The container handling capacity of the Hamburg port in 2017/2018 remained strong at 8.7 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), around 30 percent of which was China-related, according to statistics provided by Matz.
China is Germany's biggest trade partner, and about half of the cargos between China and Germany go through Hamburg, Matz added.
Matz also noted that the value of land transport increased by 4.7 percent with 2.44 million TEUs in 2018, partially due to more transportation by China Railway Express, an artery of international trade which links China and Europe, and links Hamburg with 27 China's cities.
"If you compare the figures between sea cargos and land cargos, what the trains have carried are still a small share of the total cargos," Matz said. "But if you see the increase rate of sea cargos and land cargos, the land cargos, namely carried by trains, have a huge potential."
All these numbers are constantly increasing, thus making China a really important partner of the Hamburg port, Matz said.
Talking about the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Matz said Hamburg has been a connecting point for logistics, which has been enhancing interconnectivity, a key goal of the BRI.
Matz added that there are numerous opportunities between China and Hamburg in the near future, as Hamburg has a plan to build a more innovative city and is promoting state-of-the-art technologies to make the city "safer, more efficient, and more eco-friendly."
"We are trying to make a smart city and a smart port and smart everything. So I think it is the strength of Chinese companies, strong, fast, and talented in doing this," Matz said, calling on more Chinese companies' participation in this endeavor.
He said some Chinese enterprises, like XCharge, Spearhead, and Wise Road Capital, have already taken part in the cause, providing charging piles, information technology or artificial intelligence solutions for Hamburg.
"I have to say that logistics is the traditional strong part, but in Hamburg we also do aviation, we do a lot of life science, as well as renewable energy and trading, banking, and so on. The Chinese companies have relations in most of those fields," said Matz.