Number of freight trains between China and Europe still rising

More freight train services linked China and Europe in the first 10 months of this year than the record number for all of last year, demonstrating their strong resilience amid the Covid-19 pandemic and role in stabilizing the global supply chain. China State Railway Group said 12,605 trains carrying nearly 1.22 million containers operated between China and Europe from January to October. The number of trains was up 26% year-on-year, while the freight volume was 33% higher. Last year, some 12,400 freight trains carrying 1.14 million containers operated between the two regions. The number of trains was 50% higher than in 2019, and freight volume was up 56% year-on-year. There were 1,262 China-Europe freight trains last month. The number of services along new routes rose last month to account for 35% of overall trips, up from about 20% in the first half of the year. More return trips were handled in the first 10 months of the year to help to reduce costs, with the ratio of inbound services to outbound ones rising to 81%.

Last week, a train carrying 50 containers filled with cargo including guitars and electronic supplies departed from Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province, and headed to Moscow. It was the first direct China-Europe freight train to leave Guizhou. Products from Guizhou had been shipped via other southwestern cities, such as Chongqing and Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, since June last year, but the direct service is more convenient for local manufacturers.

On November 5, a freight train loaded with furniture, electronic devices, anti-epidemic supplies and other goods left Alataw Pass on its way to Duisburg, Germany. It was the 5,000th China-Europe freight train to travel via Alataw Pass this year. With the Covid-19 pandemic casting a shadow on the global supply chain, China-Europe freight trains are being favored by more companies because of their stable operation and relatively lower costs, said Xu Yueheng, from the customs authority at Alataw Pass. Xu added that 23 new China-Europe freight train routes have been opened at the port this year. Ahead of the fourth China International Import Expo (CIIE) early this month, a China-Europe freight train carrying a variety of exhibits arrived in Shanghai from Hamburg, Germany. It was the first time CIIE exhibits had been transported by freight train to the exhibition. Using the train rather than the traditional sea route cut the transportation time by half.

China-Europe rail freight services have now reached more than 170 cities in 23 European countries, transporting more than 50,000 kinds of products. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the departure of the first China-Europe freight train, which traveled from Chongqing to Duisburg, the China Daily reports.