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Freight trains to enhance supply chain, build BRI

Updated: Oct 18, 2021 Print
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Government officials and business leaders focusing especially on Europe-bound express shipments

Freight train services connecting China and Europe will further enrich the global supply chains and heighten the high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative in coming years, according to government officials and business leaders.

The officials and business leaders made their comments after the China State Railway Group, the national railway operator and also the freight train service provider, announced earlier this month that a total of 10,030 trips were handled in the first eight months of this year.

The figure represented a 32 percent increase from the same period last year.

In the meantime, the China-Europe Railway Express freight train service transported 964,000 containers, an increase of 40 percent, during that span. It took 10 months to reach 10,000 services last year.

The group said it has improved coordination between China and countries along the way to respond to the strong demand for services during the COVID-19 pandemic, making full efforts to handle cargo transshipments from sea and air transportation, enhancing the capacity to handle cargo at ports and expand operational efficiency.

Zheng Shuangyin, deputy general manager of the International Business Department of China Post's parcel, express and logistics business unit, said freight train service will become a key part of supporting foreign trade between China and Europe for the long run.

The services are influenced by changes in global supply chains, which have been disrupted by the contagion and the classification of international delivery products by value and priorities.

Based on existing service routes, including the ones from Chongqing municipality and Yiwu in Zhejiang province to the European cities of Madrid, Spain, and Malaszewicze, Poland, China Post this year has launched new self-organized routes linking Chinese cities such as Wuhan in Hubei province, Guangzhou in Guangdong province, Chengdu in Sichuan province, Xi'an in Shaanxi province and Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region with many European cities, Zheng said. Target customers of the freight train service are mainly concentrated in the mid-to-high-end manufacturing sector, which have seen high demand in stable supply chains, and are becoming diversified over time.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the departure of the first China-Europe freight train, which traveled from Chongqing to Duisburg, Germany. After years of growth, the strategic value of express freight train service, fueled by strong market demand and technology upgrading, will gain momentum and become more digitalized to help Eurasia resume trade flows during the next growth stage, said Li Guanpeng, chairman of Sinotrans, a Beijing-based logistics giant with more than 1,100 domestic subsidiaries and 77 overseas facilities.

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