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Xiamen offers new rail route to Europe

By Hu Meidong and Zhao Ruixue in Xiamen | China Daily | Updated: 2019-04-28 09:47

A consignment of goods which is transported by sea for five days from Yokohama in Japan, is put on a freight train at Xiamen, a port in East China's Fujian province, heading for Duisburg, Germany on April 10.

That consignment, comprising mainly bikes and ball bags, is expected to arrive at its destination in 22 days thanks to the China-Europe Railway Express, saving 15 days in travel time compared with transporting it by sea all the way.

"Earlier, goods from Japan headed to European countries were transported by sea and air. But now, the China-Europe Railway Express provides a new option for large-scale logistics runners between Japan and European countries, creating a convenient and rapid mode at a reasonable price," says Chen Luchao, a manager with the Xiamen International Railway Service Co Ltd.

Xiamen, a crucial point on the ancient marine Silk Road, has numerous waterways which help in integrating resources along both the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road to create a new-era international transport system.

Nowadays, the sea-rail combined transportation system supported by the China-Europe Railway Express has enabled Xiamen to extend its business to more countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

So, in addition to Japan, goods from Vietnam, South Korea and Thailand can also be shipped to Xiamen and then be loaded onto the train to Europe.

Chen also says that the company is working on sea-rail routes linking the Philippines and Malaysia, so goods from the two countries can be shipped to Xiamen and then use the railway to reach Europe.

So far, the city has launched freight train services to a number of European countries including Germany, Russia and Hungary.

Since it launched rail services in August, 2015, the China-Europe Railway Express has sent a total of 433 trains to Europe from Xiamen as of the end of March, shipping 15,883 40-foot containers with goods valued at 7.75 billion yuan ($1.15 billion), according to statistics from the Xiamen International Railway Service Co Ltd.

Experts say that the China-Europe Railway Express which is dubbed the "caravan of steel camels" offers new opportunities not only to China but countries like Japan and South Korea.

Nippon Express in Japan has been using the China-Europe Railway Express since July, 2017. The company transports goods from ports in Japan by sea to Dalian, a port city in China, or transports goods from Japan's major airports to Southwest China's Chongqing and then loads the goods on the China-Europe Railway Express to get to Duisburg.

SG Holdings, one of the top three Express service providers in Japan is also in the process of providing logistics services in conjunction with Chinese railways, Cankaoxiaoxi, a Chinese newspaper run by Xinhua News Agency reported.

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