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China Railway Express to sprawl wider, faster in China, Europe

By Jiang Jie (People's Daily Online)    14:59, September 07, 2017

(Company representatives, experts speak at a seminar at the “Belt and Road” International Logistics Cooperation Forum on September 6. Jiang Jie/People’s Daily Online)

China Railway Express, the China-Europe rail cargo transportation service, eyes to speed up expansion of its service to boost economic development, said a vice general manger of the cross-continental service.

Addressing “The Belt and Road” International Logistics Cooperation Forum at the China-Arab States Expo 2017 on Wednesday, Zhong Cheng, a vice general manager of China Railway Container Transportation (CRCT), said the traditional railway transportation connecting China and Europe can reach out to more regions under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), boost trade, and promote social and economic development in Europe.

Since the first train left from China’s Chongqing for Germany’s Duisburg in 2011, the China Railway Express has witnessed a total of 5,093 trains traveling to Europe, and at an increasingly faster pace. The first 1,000 record was accomplished at the 54th month, the second 1,000 record at five and a half months, and the third at merely four and a half months. Between January and August, a total of 2,129 trains have traveled to Europe, up 123 percent, according to CRCT data.

The growth rate of China Railway Express is especially remarkable against the backdrop of global economy stagnation, noted Zhong.

Some 33 Chinese cities see routine train travel back and forth between China and Europe. A total of 33 cities in 12 countries in Europe welcome the trains from China on a regular basis. This is especially true for the Yiwu-Madrid route, which has turned Madrid into a major distribution center for daily commodities covering all of Europe, he added.

Of the 52 routes for the China Express Railway, trains travel at an average of 1,300 kilometers per day and they will gradually increase their speeds to guarantee 10-day transportation time.

By 2020, China Railway Express is expected to connect to 28 transportation hubs, with more than 5,000 trains traveling to Europe each year, and the hope is that they will return with more cargo, Zhong revealed.

However, the China Railway Express must deal with ports of entry and entry-exit inspections as it travels from country to country. In contrast to the rapid growth of the China Railway Express, the inadequate personnel and capacity of some ports also prolongs the trips.

Under the price negotiation mechanism, the travel cost has been reduced by 30 percent compared to 2011. Yet, the cost of logistics remains relatively high, as the cost in Europe is about twice of that in China, making the general price higher than market expectations. In addition, the trips from and back to China remain unbalanced, as trains return to China carrying a load that is half full, Zhong pointed out.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hu Ximeng, Bianji)

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