Intl train smooths exports from north of nation

Updated: Apr 19, 2023 By ZHANG YU in Shijiazhuang China Daily Print
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A China-Europe freight train carrying domestically made vehicles departs Shijiazhuang in Hebei province for five Central Asian countries in late March. [Photo/China News Service]

Improved logistics in North China are helping domestic automakers increase their export volumes with efficient and low-cost services, according to officials at an international land port in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

"China's automobile export logistics are becoming more and more diversified and convenient, especially the China-Europe freight trains, which are becoming the choice of more automakers," said Liu Jinpeng, general manager of Shijiazhuang International Land Port in the capital city of Hebei province. The facility is called a land port because it helps companies handle cargo export procedures.

A China-Europe freight train carrying 261 vehicles made by Hebei-based automaker Great Wall Motors departed from Shijiazhuang on March 28, bound for five Central Asian countries, according to Liu. It is the first double-decker train for transporting vehicles — called a longche or cage-train — to depart from the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, said Li Jiangna, manager of the port's international freight services department. Cars can be driven directly onto the train's carriages.

The transportation was handled jointly by the land port and China Railway Special Cargo Logistics Co, which provided the train service.

Each of the train's 29 compartments can carry nine to 10 automobiles. The vehicles are driven directly onto the train and the cars can travel throughout the train when all the carriage doors are opened, Li said.

"It greatly increases the efficiency of loading and unloading. Such trains help increase the delivery capacity and lower transport costs for vehicle manufacturers," Li said.

It also promotes automobile exports from the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, and helps manufacturers expand into overseas markets, Liu said.

Commercial vehicles from the region were previously exported via containers that could each hold only two or three vehicles, which would then be loaded on trains.

The capacity was small and efficiency low, Liu said.

The train was set to arrive in Horgos, a border port in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The vehicles were to be carried on trucks to Kazakhstan for delivery to that country and also to Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The vehicles are worth over 31 million yuan ($4.51 million). The manufacturer, Great Wall Motors, based in Baoding, Hebei province, is considered China's leading sport utility vehicle and pickup manufacturer.

Preparations for loading a second such train have started. The plan is to load 261 vehicles made by Chinese automaker Geely, according to the port. They are to be sent to Central Asian countries, officials said.

"We will gradually increase the operation of such cage trains to better serve export demand for domestic automakers," Liu said.

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