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Chang'an freight trains connect Xi'an with the world

(chinadaily.com.cn)

Updated: 2018-05-22

Chang'an freight trains connect Xi'an with the world

A China-Asia freight train, loaded with tons of mung beans arrives at Xi'an from Tashkent, Uzbekistan on May 11. [Photo/itl.gov.cn]

The Chang'an international freight trains have entered a new stage of development in 2018, reporters from the third International Silk Road Exposition said.

In the past five years, the coverage of Chang'an international freight trains from Xi'an, the starting point of the ancient Silk Road, has extended from Central Asia to the hinterland of Europe. Goods are being diversified and the number of trains is growing. The advancement shows that smooth connections have been achieved with countries along the Belt and Road and exchanges have been made in policies, infrastructure, trade and finance.

On Nov 28, 2013, the Chang'an International freight train successfully made its first journey by departing from Xi'an and galloping westwards to arrive at Almaty, Kazakhstan after six days. On Aug 18, 2016, the first Chang'an China-Europe Express Train left Xi'an for the terminus in Warsaw, Poland via the Alashankou port in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Destinations on the cargo lists of Chang'an freight trains are not just limited to regions in Central Asia, it also includes numerous cities in the backcountry of Europe.

The trains can now be spotted at railway hubs of Europe such as Hamburg of Germany, Budapest of Hungary, and Kouvola of Finland. In the first two months of this year, the number of countries where Chang'an trains reached increased dramatically from 17 to 30, the majority of which were European countries.

New routes opened this year from Xi'an to Belarus, Russia and Iran. A total of eight routes are currently in operation, according to Bai Qinbin, an official from the Xi'an International Trade & Logistics (ITL) Park.

Chang'an freight trains connect Xi'an with the world
Officials check the mung beans coming from Tashkent, Uzbekistan. [Photo/itl.gov.cn]

Chang'an freight trains have progressed soundly in recent years by exporting more goods, raising its brand awareness in the market, and varying its imports and exports.

"The range of exported goods have gradually expanded from construction machinery, decoration materials, and other items in the previous years to automotive parts, electronic components, and high-end manufacturing products", said Yuan Xiaojun, general manager of ITL Landport Multimodal Transport Company.

According to statistics from the Xi'an Customs, Chang'an freight trains have exported mechanical and electrical products worth $86.6 million in the first quarter of this year with an increase of 7.3 times, and textiles worth $63.3 million with an increase of 15.4 times.

Thanks to the policies of accelerating opening-up and increasing imports, the types of imports on the Chang'an trains have become increasingly bountiful.

A train loaded with 1,066 tons of Uzbekistani mung beans in 41 containers took a journey of 4,677 kilometers back to Xi'an on May 11, marking the first entry of Uzbekistani mung beans into China via the trains.

"The further enrichment of export and import commodities symbolizes that China has initially grasped the supply and demand of domestic, Central Asian and European markets in its trade exchanges with countries along the Belt and Road, which will contribute to sound development", said Lu Shanbing, director of the Silk Road Research Institute of Northwest University.

The initial frequency of the Chang'an trains was once a week. This year, the ITL Park has set a target of operating at least 1,000 Chang'an trains for the entire year.

A total of 290 trains had been in service in the first four months loading freights weighing 303,500 tons.

The substantial increase in the frequency of trains has benefited from the innovation in the trains' operating model.

In the past, the Chang'an trains were operated by only one company while now the park allows different companies to superintend different routes.

"The new idea has transformed the Chang'an freight train into an open and win-win platform. Each company has formed a joint force with its own advantages, attracting more sources of supply and trade", Sun Yimin, director of the ITL administrative committee noted.

"The changes in the Chang'an international freight trains over the past five years have showed increasingly closed relationships between China and countries along the B&R. It has also demonstrated China's resolve to continue opening up to the outside world", Xu Hualiang, former director of Shaanxi Provincial Inspection and Quarantine Bureau spoke highly of the trains.

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2018-05-16

Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province in Northwest China played host to the Third Silk Road International Exposition and Development Forum on Hub Economy, Portal Economy and Mobile Economy on May 11.

Shaanxi: Building new cultural bridges on Belt and Road

2018-05-15

As the starting point of the ancient Silk Road and an active participant in the Belt and Road Initiative, Shaanxi province has launched a series of projects boosting local culture and tourism industry.

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