On May 13, 2017, while Beijing is welcoming guests from all over the world for the BRF, the 1,000th freight train heading from Yiwu to Madrid was waiting for its departure. (Photo by People.cn)
By the time when Beijing was ready for the two-day grand forum of Belt and Road, good news came from eastern China’s Zhejiang Province. On Saturday, May 13, the 1,000th freight train connecting China and Europe departed Yiwu and bound for Madrid. A record so far with an increase of 612 trips over the same period last year.
The Yixin’ou line runs freight services twice per week with a lead time of 16 days. This allows goods from China to arrive in Europe in a shorter time than via shipping by sea.
The train carries Yiwu’s small commodities such as household items, toys, decors, and garments to Europe. Upon return, European goods such as wine, olive oil and cosmetic products are imported to China. Trains returning from Europe are now scheduled for once a month.
The Yixin’ou line launched its maiden trip in November 2014. This rail link, measuring over 13,000 kilometers, is by far the longest in the world.
Since then, Yiwu has started operation of a direct rail freight service to London. The Yiwu-London line passes through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France.
As part of their intercontinental rail freight services, the CR Express has now developed a total of 39 train routes connecting 16 cities in China to Europe. Rail freight provides a cheaper shipment method to air, and a more time-efficient option than sea.
According to logistics expert Wang Jianming from Yiwu, the launch of the Yixin’ou lines not only strengthens trade ties between China and Europe, but also promotes people-to-people and cultural exchanges.
He reveals that the city of Yiwu is also holding discussions with European countries such as Latvia and Poland to establish partnerships and collaborations in trade, education and logistics sectors.
Wang is optimistic that collaborations between China and Europe will flourish as the CR Express runs on a more frequent basis.