CIIE to bring new development, opportunities, exchanges

By Han Shuo, Liu Zhonghua, Fang Min (People's Daily) 09:44, November 07, 2023

The second "Jinbo" China-Europe freight train carrying exhibits to the sixth China International Import Expo (CIIE) arrived in Shanghai, China from the German port city of Duisburg on Oct. 29. The first "Jinbo" train of this year arrived in Shanghai on Oct. 11.

"Jinbo" is short for CIIE in Chinese. Since the first "Jinbo" China-Europe freight train was launched in 2021, a new channel has been opened for European enterprises participating in the CIIE. This year, three "Jinbo" trains were planned, which were expected to carry 210 twenty-foot equivalent units of exhibits with total worth of over 350 million yuan ($47.92 million).

This year's first "Jinbo" China-Europe freight train carrying exhibits to the sixth China International Import Expo arrives at the Minhang Station in Shanghai, Oct. 11, 2023. (People's Daily Online/Shen Chunchen)

As a signature project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the China-Europe freight service reaches 217 cities in 25 European countries and regions. It had made a total of 78,000 train trips as of the end of September. The close collaboration between the service and the CIIE further enlarges the "CIIE effect" and makes global trade more unimpeded. It is a witness to China's efforts to share opportunities and strive for common development with the rest of the world.

In recent years, thanks to the deepening cooperation between China and Europe, the number of China-Europe freight trains has steadily increased. European chemical products, machinery equipment, powdered milk, cosmetics, and other goods are transported to various destinations along the China-Europe rail routes from Duisburg and Hamburg in Germany and Malaszewicze in Poland. In Duisburg alone, there are over 100 Chinese logistics and e-commerce companies.

On Sept. 21, the first "Jinbo" train for the sixth CIIE departed from Duisburg, carrying exhibits with a value exceeding 16 million euros ($17.16 million). Among these exhibits were nearly 270 types of products from French cosmetics giant L'Oreal.

"The 'Jinbo' train is very convenient. Previously, our goods had to be transferred before they were shipped to Shanghai. Now, the goods can go directly to Shanghai, and the customs clearance is also very fast," said Fabrice Megarbane, president of L'Oreal North Asia Zone and CEO of L'Oreal China.

As a six-time exhibitor at the CIIE, L'Oreal has made a new record in the number of products showcased this year.

Photo shows the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), the venue of the sixth China International Import Expo. (People's Daily Online/Yuan Xinyu)

"The goods transported through the 'Jinbo' train are not only exhibition items but also products that will soon be sold," said Megarbane, adding that L'Oreal needs to be well-prepared for the approaching "Double 11" online shopping festival in China.

He emphasized that the seamless connection between the China-Europe freight service and the CIIE ensures fast transportation and good sales. L'Oreal hopes that more goods would be transported to China through China-Europe freight trains, and looks forward to bringing more debut products and cutting-edge technologies to the Chinese market.

Portuguese household cleaning brand Mootaa attended the CIIE with most of its exhibits shipped from Madrid, Spain via the China-Europe freight train.

"The advantage in time efficiency was our primary consideration for choosing the China-Europe freight train. Compared to maritime transport, the China-Europe freight service cuts the transportation time by half, which can help us quickly build the supply chain, improve inventory turnover efficiency and save operating costs," said Zhou Jun, president of Mootaa Greater China.

The "Jinbo" trains have covered a distance of over 11,000 kilometers, passing through countries such as Poland, Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan, with approximately 60 drivers from multiple countries participating in the service.

"Since 2021, we have been collaborating with Chinese companies to provide dedicated train services for the 'Jinbo' train," said Frank Schulze, managing director of DB Cargo Transasia. He further added that railway transportation is highly environmentally friendly, reducing 95 percent of carbon dioxide emissions compared to air transport and 80 percent compared to trucks.

On Oct. 6, the first "Jinbo" train of this year entered China via Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and went through customs procedures upon arrival at the Alashankou port. The customs, railway, and other departments at the port opened a 24-hour green channel for the train.

After the train arrived in Shanghai, the Shanghai Railway Station and other relevant authorities set up dedicated windows for customs declaration, providing companies with advice on classification and taxation, and implementing paperless customs clearance to ensure the swift inspection and release of goods.

"Benefiting from the optimized customs supervision service and the tailor-made intermodal solution of the 'Jinbo' train, exhibits can be showcased at the CIIE in a faster and more environmentally friendly manner," said Megarbane.

From intelligent vacuum—jetting flushing combination systems and motor parts to European specialty foods like wine and olive oil, and consumer goods like cosmetics and glassware, the "quality imports" brought by China-Europe freight trains are increasingly diverse. Numerous high-quality Chinese goods are also sold to the world through return trains.

"The China-Europe freight trains have achieved remarkable results. We have more and more train routes, and the goods transported are also becoming increasingly diverse, such as automobiles, auto parts, electronic products, etc. This is of great significance for promoting China-Germany trade exchanges and strengthening industrial cooperation," said Schulze.

The CIIE is where goods and services are traded, and it is also a platform promoting cultural exchange and ideas. Schulze, who has been working and living in Shanghai for over five years, calls Shanghai his second hometown. Saying he's proud as a service provider for "Jinbo" trains, he said that the CIIE serves as a platform connecting businesses and people from different countries, and will bring new development, opportunities, and exchanges.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Du Mingming)


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