China-Europe freight trains serve 25 European countries as BRI's 10th anniversary arrives

2023-10-11 09:07:06Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China-Europe freight trains now reach more than 200 cities in 25 European countries, and more than 100 cities in 11 Asian countries and regions, after their operations started in 2013.

Market observers said that in the past decade, the trains have greatly facilitated cargo transport and cross-border business between the two distant continents, and they have the potential to expand to more areas. 

China-Europe freight trains have completed 78,000 trips in the past 10 years and shipped more than $340 billion worth of cargo in 7.4 million standard containers, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said during a routine press conference on Tuesday.

"After more than 10 years of exploration and development, the China-Europe freight trains has grown into a sound network, and the capacity of the ports along the network has been significantly raised, becoming a flagship project and landmark brand of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)," said Wang, noting that people in China, Europe and Central Asia have all benefited from business facilitated by the trains.

China-Europe freight trains have shortened the trade distance, increased shipping efficiency and generated more opportunities for resource allocation among all economies along the network, Bai Ming, deputy director of the international market research institute at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"The freight trains have made remarkable progress in the past 10 years, and it should explore more functions of the railway network and further simplify shipping operations," said Bai.

As one of the major departure ports of China-Europe freight trains, Erenhot Port in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has handled more than 2,500 China-Europe freight train trips so far this year, local railway authorities said on Tuesday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Since the port launched its China-Europe freight train services in 2013, it has handled more than 13,000 China-Europe freight train trips.

On September 28, the China-Europe Chang'an freight train began its 20,000th trip since entering operation on November 11, 2013, starting from Xi'an in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province to Moscow, train operator Xi'an International Trade & Logistics Park told the Global Times.

The 20,000th Chang'an freight train carrying 165 vehicles departed from Xi'an on September 28, which was also the 3,947th freight train departing from the city in 2023. As of September 28, the number of departures of the Chang'an train had risen 29.7 percent year-on-year. The freight volume had hit 3.5 million tons, up by 34.7 percent year-on-year.

The Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation is scheduled to kick off in October. "China will take the forum as an opportunity to further deepen practical cooperation with all parties to better use the train to accelerate prosperity for all," said Wang.

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