The China-Europe freight train service is crucial to Mongolia because it boosts foreign exchange inflows into its economy, a senior Mongolian railway official has said.
"The China-Europe freight train service via the territory of Mongolia is very important for the Mongolian economy, because all fees of the freight train service are paid in foreign currencies," which increases its foreign exchange reserves, said Amarbayasgalan Altanshagai, head of the container freight transportation division of Ulan Bator Railway company, Mongolia's official railway operator.
Noting that the number of freight trains via Mongolian territory for the China-Europe route is growing year by year, he said a total of 2,513 such trains travelled through Mongolia in 2021, an increase of about 200 from the previous year.
Last year, the China-Europe freight train service generated at least 166 billion Mongolian Tugriks (58.2 million U.S. dollars) for Mongolia's railway sector alone, he said, stressing that the service also created significant revenues for other sectors in the country, such as private transport.
Mongolia aims to become a transit state, offering the shortest route from Europe to Asia through its territory, Mongolian President Ukhnaa Khurelsukh has said.
The "Transit Mongolia" goal proposed by the president can be fully achieved, Altanshagai said. "We believe that the China-Europe freight train service via the territory of Mongolia is part of the implementation of the goal."
In order to grow the number of freight trains in the future, capacity at border stations and the number of border exits or routes must be increased, Altanshagai said.