China-Europe trains boon for trade

China Daily | Updated: 2023-09-08 09:38
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A foreign seller promotes products via livestreaming at Xi'an International Trade and Logistics Park in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi province, in March. [PHOTO/XINHUA]

'Steel camel caravans' link 108 Chinese cities with 25 countries, enable efficient transport of goods

XI'AN — When Juan Carlos in Malaga, Spain, ordered a China-made ceiling light using the cross-border e-commerce platform AliExpress, he never imagined he would receive the product the next day.

"I have to admit, that was faster than I expected," Carlos said, expressing surprise.

The ceiling light came from a warehouse belonging to Qxbox Technology Warehousing Ltd in Madrid, which explains the rapid delivery. However, like 100,000 other products at the warehouse, it had already traveled over 8,000 kilometers from China. Carlos' speedy shopping experience and millions of other Europeans like him would be impossible without highly efficient logistics.

Departing from their point of origin in South China's Guangdong province, these items were first transported overland to a distribution hub in Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi province. They then headed to Spain via Chang'an China-Europe freight trains.

"Before 2017, it took more than 40 days to transport goods by ship, but freight train services help cut the time in half and at a lower cost," said Mou Jinwen, chairman of Qxbox.

About 2,000 years ago, in the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24), a Chinese envoy named Zhang Qian began his expedition to the western regions and opened up a trade route that later became the Silk Road.

In 2013, China put forward the Belt and Road Initiative. Since then, the China-Europe freight train service was launched, becoming modern-day "steel camel caravans "linking 108 Chinese cities with 208 European cities in 25 countries.

Qxbox has worked with local delivery companies and built four warehouses around the world. The one in Madrid covers an area of 12,000 square meters, handling an average of 6,000 orders per day. Buyers can receive their packages within two days.

Moreover, by cooperating with e-commerce platforms like Amazon and AliExpress, it provides overseas customer service, after-sales repair, returns and exchanges to domestic companies.

Diego Cimadevilla, managing director of Qxbox's subsidiary in Spain, noted that the competitive edge of freight train services lies in sustainability, stability and security. Meanwhile, Spanish products also have access to the Chinese market, which is both quick and cost-effective.

According to a report released by China's General Administration of Customs, the value of China's cross-border e-commerce imports and exports reached 2.1 trillion yuan ($287.5 billion) in 2022, marking an increase of 7.1 percent compared with 2021.

The Xi'an International Trade and Logistics Park, where Chang'an China-Europe freight trains depart, has attracted many foreign trade enterprises and logistics suppliers.

Sitting before a camera, Tagenova Selle, a 23-year-old livestreamer from Georgia, presents glistening earrings and necklaces to her viewers in fluent English.

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