The Chinese economic center of Shanghai will launch a China-Europe freight train service next Tuesday, specifically to Hamburg, Germany. The launch marks the first cross-border rail service between Shanghai and Europe, Shanghai Customs said on Friday.
The “Shanghai Express” will be loaded with clothing, auto parts, solar panels, crockery, furniture, basic necessities, machine components and other goods.
The train will leave China through the Alataw Pass of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and will arrive in Hamburg about two weeks later, passing through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland.
According to Shanghai Customs, trains using this route will run regularly every week, as new routes are opened, providing new logistics options for Chinese and foreign companies.
According to Li Chongyu, chief executive officer of China Railway International Multimodal Transport Co., Ltd. (CRIMT), as quoted by Chinese agency Xinhua, the first China-Europe rail freight line was launched in 2011, and 17 trains from freight provided this service that year.
Since then, the service has grown steadily. In 2017, rail freight saw a drastic growth, with 3,673 trains, up 116%, exceeding the total number of freight trains during the period from 2011 to 2016.
The growth momentum continued in 2018, with 2,490 freight trains since the start of the year, up 69% year-on-year. The number of return trains also shows a stable increase, with an increase of 100%, representing 69% of the number of outward trains.
According to Li, the quality of services and operations of China-Europe freight trains has improved significantly in recent years. A logistics service system has been established, customs clearance is becoming easier, and security management has been strengthened.
Yangtze Optical Fiber and Cable Joint Stock Limited Company, the world’s leading supplier of optical fibers and cables, sends 20% of its exports to regions crossed by China-Europe freight trains. According to Shen Qing, responsible for this exporter, the China-Europe freight train service can shorten the duration of the delivery of these products to 22 to 24 days, against 52 to 56 days previously.