China-Europe Freight Trains Total 10,000 Trips So Far This Year, Accelerating BRI Cooperation

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China-Europe freight trains made 10,000 trips as of Saturday this year, 22 days earlier than last year, carrying more than 1.08 million 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers of goods, up 27 percent, data from China State Railway Group showed.

The steady operation of the freight train service has contributed to the stability of international industrial and supply chains, while injecting strong momentum into regional and global economic and social development as well as the high-quality construction of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Chinese analysts said.

As China’s foreign trade remains stable, China Railway said it has increased train capacity, added new routes, offered customized services, and strengthened land port construction to meet robust cross-border transport demand. China-Europe freight trains now cover almost the entire Euroasian continent, the company said.

There are 86 China-Europe freight routes where speeds reach up to 120 kilometers per hour. The number of two-way trains between Xi’an, Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province and Duisburg, Germany has doubled to two, with the travel time stable at 12 days, according to China Railway.

In order to meet European consumers’ demand, the trains carry goods ranging from fresh fruits, electronics to skincare products.

China Railway said the services are benefiting from strong demand for cross-border goods transportation in the post-pandemic era and advantages such as all-weather cooperation, large capacity, low-carbon footprint, as well as smooth and secure services.

“The robust growth in China-Europe freight train service underscores the strength of China as the ‘world’s factory.’ …The stable operation of those trains despite the pandemic helped transport high value-added products continuously to Europe,” Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Sunday.

The connection of landlocked cities such as Xi’an and Chengdu with Europe expands their opening-up and contributes to re-industrialization in Europe, he said.

China-Europe freight trains connect the “world’s factory” with the global market, deepen industrial production capacity cooperation and promote people-to-people exchanges, Wang said.

As of the end of June, the freight trains had reached 216 cities in 25 European countries, with more than 6.9 million TEU of goods handled through 73,000 trips, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor is also one of the key projects under the BRI. Launched in 2017, it’s a trade and logistics passage that was jointly built by provincial-level regions in western China and ASEAN countries.

The China-Europe freight trains and New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor will boost connections between Europe, China and Southeast Asia and become a stabilizer for global industrial and supply chains, Wang said.

Source : Global Times