Central China’s Hunan becomes key nexus for opening up country’s hinterland thanks to China-Europe freight train service

(People's Daily Online) 09:18, March 08, 2022

Changsha in central China’s Hunan Province serves as a major logistics base for China-Europe freight trains, with 1,030 trains having set off from Changsha for Europe in 2021. (Photo provided by Hunan Zhongnan International Land Port Co., Ltd.)

In March 2022, more than 100 containers loaded with equipment manufactured by plants of Sany Heavy Industry, located in central China’s Hunan Province, are set to depart from Hunan to Central Asia, via the China-Europe freight train service.

In 2021, the central Chinese province launched 1,072 China-Europe freight trains, up 95.6 percent year-on-year, according to statistics from the Department of Commerce of Hunan Province. Meanwhile, the value of goods carried by the freight trains reached $2.975 billion, up 33.1 percent year-on-year.

Changsha, the provincial capital, which launched 1,030 China-Europe freight trains last year, became one of the five cities and regions in the country that launched more than 1,000 China-Europe freight trains in 2021.

Having profoundly reformed the modes of international logistics available in Hunan, which previously mainly relied on road and maritime transport, the China-Europe freight train service has emerged as a stable and efficient passageway of importance for international logistics.

On Feb. 23, 2022, a China-Europe freight train loaded with daily necessities left China via the Horgos Port in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The train, leaving Changsha North Railway Station in Changsha on Feb. 19, will arrive at a series of European cities, including Malaszewicze in Poland and Duisburg in Germany, in early March.

The China-Europe freight train service now serves as a stable and efficient international logistics passageway linking Changsha and Europe. (Photo provided by Hunan Zhongnan International Land Port Co., Ltd.)

According to Zhang Ping, general manager of the consignor, which is a cross-border supply chain company based in Hunan, between January and February 2022, the company delivered 18,000 metric tons of goods via 21 China-Europe freight trains. “Normally, it takes more than 40 days for the goods to arrive at destinations by sea, but just 15 to 18 days via the freight train service,” Zhang said.

Zhang, who has been engaged in the foreign trade industry for more than 20 years, said that the rapid development of his company is attributable to the explosive growth of the China-Europe freight train service and the efforts made by Hunan Zhongnan International Land Port Co., Ltd., a main operator of the China-Europe freight train service established in 2018.

Ye Hongbin, general manager of Hunan Zhongnan International Land Port Co., Ltd., explained that in 2019, the indicators adopted to evaluate the quality of operations for the Changsha-Europe freight trains, including the loading rate, transportation safety, and the arrival-departure balance ratio, all reached 100 percent, while the number of China-Europe freight trains launched by Changsha in 2020 was more than the total combined number of China-Europe freight trains launched by the city between 2014 and 2018.

After more than seven years, the freight train service between Changsha and Europe has become established as a freight train service brand, with trains travelling in both directions on a regular basis. Besides, the service has turned Changsha into a magnet for freight transportation that is now able to attract companies based in Guangdong, Jiangsu, Fujian and Jiangxi provinces, as well as in Shanghai, among other cities and regions, to deliver their goods there for forward shipment.

For Sany Heavy Industry, Europe is a major exporter of core mechanical parts. According to Huang Dong, head of the international logistics department at Sany Heavy Industry, the China-Europe freight train service, which is reliable and cost-efficient, has emerged as the best option for his company when it comes to cross-border transport.

“In the first two months of the year, we received nearly 80 containers of mechanical parts from Europe via the China-Europe freight train service, which accounted for 70 percent of our total imports of mechanical parts,” said Huang.

Thus far, Changsha has already successfully put into operation multiple China-Europe freight train routes, linking more than 20 cities in over 10 countries in Europe.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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