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Railway helps Eurasia resume trade flows

By LIU ZHIHUA and ZHONG NAN | China Daily | Updated: 2021-08-17 09:56
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An aerial view of a railway depot in Dongguan, Guangdong province, in July. The depot is the point of origin for freight trains bound for Europe. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Data from the General Administration of Customs showed imports and exports moved by the company's China-Europe freight train service were worth 16.63 billion yuan ($2.57 billion) in the first five months, surging 193 percent year-on-year. Imports reached 2.87 billion yuan, with a year-on-year increase of 56 times.

Moreover, anti-pandemic supplies such as masks, protective gear and thermometers carried by the company's freight trains to countries such as Spain, Germany, Poland and Russia, totaled 101 TEU containers last year, with a combined weight of 753.95 tons.

Feng said the China-Europe Railway Express freight train service, which experienced rapid growth in both quantity and quality, was seen as opening up a "cargo lifeline" during the pandemic.

By early this year, YXE had developed 14 international freight train routes from Yiwu, Zhejiang province, with service to and from Asia and Europe.

The China-Europe freight train service operated by YXE made 2,000 trips as at the end of 2020, carrying more than 170,000 TEU containers of goods, with an average annual growth rate exceeding 100 percent.

The company has operated 775 China-Europe freight train trips this year as of July 11, among which 197 were China-bound carrying 16,264 TEU containers, up almost 37 times year-on-year.

COSCO Shipping Logistics Co Ltd also saw robust increases in demand for its freight services related to China-Europe freight trains in the past few years.

The company's China-Europe freight train operations delivered 19,451 TEU containers of goods in 2019, up 37.1 percent year-on-year. And in 2020, the volume surged by 59.7 percent from a year earlier to hit 31,054 TEU containers of goods.

China-Europe Railway Express freight train services are a marked achievement of Belt and Road Initiative cooperation, and China's new dual-circulation development strategy has also propelled its rapid growth, especially in the China-Europe freight train-based integrated freight sector, COSCO Shipping Logistics said.

The target customers of the freight train service are mainly concentrated in the mid-to-high-end manufacturing sector that see high demand for stable supply chains, and are becoming diversified over time, according to the company.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the surge in sea freight charges and reduction in capacity have especially highlighted the importance of the China-Europe freight train service, and COSCO Shipping has established a special team to develop integrated freight solutions that combine the China-Europe freight train with other types of freight services.

COSCO Shipping also plans to further integrate resources in warehousing, shipping, inland water transport, air transport, railway transport, trailers and road transport to extend its business footprint in integrated door-to-door freight solutions.

Through deepening cooperation with platform enterprises in the freight train service sector, while leveraging on its own extensive transportation network and multiple logistics centers at home and abroad, the company hopes to create an effective rail-and-sea freight service model running across the Eurasian continent to make greater contributions to stabilizing global industry and supply chains and the global economic recovery, while also facilitating China's establishment of its dual-circulation development pattern, the company said.

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