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TBILISI/BERLIN: July 03, 2016. Deutsche Bahn (DB) and Georgian Railways have signed a five-year agreement to create a new rail link from China to Europe. The move follows a similar agreement in March between DB and China Railways.

Europe Asia landbridgeThe new MoU was signed during a recent visit by Germany's foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Georgia.

"We look forward to contributing to the Silk Road initiative and thus helping to promote international rail transport," said Niko Warbanoff, head of International Business Development at DB and CEO of DB Engineering & Consulting. "Our work in this area will also offer us access to a large and growing market in Asia," he added.

DB Engineering & Consulting was formed in 1966 as a joint venture between Deutsche Bundesbahn and Deutsche Bank and now employs 4,000 people from 66 countries as an engineering and consulting firm in the field of infrastructure, mobility, and transport solutions.

Projects have included quality and safety plans for the new metro system in the southern Indian city of Kochi, consulting for maintenance activities and high-speed rail services in China, collaboration on the Canberra, Australia light rail system, and designing an entire transportation system for the emirate of Qatar.

In a related move, DB and Georgian Railways are planning the development of rail freight links between Europe, Iran and India with Georgia as a transit country.

As part of the deal, DB is to provide Georgian Railways support for organizing and producing rail services, reforming its rail system's structure root-and-branch, and modernizing and maintaining rail technology including the company's fleet of vehicles.

Since 2011, DB has operated weekly container train services between China and Europe. Last year 400 trains carried 30,000 containers on its North and South routes with a transit time of 12-16 days.

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