|China-Europe Express railway - 10,000 trains since 2011|
|Author: Matej Balen|
|27th August 2018|
|WUHAN - Just 10 years ago, regular direct freight services from China to Europe did not exist. Today, they connect 48 Chinese cities with 40 European cities in 14 countries.|
August 26th 2018 marked the day when the China-Europe freight train X8044 arrived to Wuhan, Hubei province, after a two-week journey from Hamburg, Germany. This train was the 10,000th freight train that travelled China Railway Express network since its establishment in 2011.
Rail services are considerably cheaper than air and faster than sea, and this was the main idea behind the establishment of the China Railway Express, seven years ago, that would connect PR China and Europe.
First China-Europe express train departed from Chongqing on March 19, 2011 loaded with IT products and arrived in Duisburg two weeks later. The journey took 20 days less than the usual 36 days of travel, prior to the establishment of the China Railway Express.
By 2018, Chinese freight trains made the trips between China and Europe on 65 rail routes. On a typical train from any of the 48 Chinese cities, Chinese products like automobiles, electronic components, steel products and cables are send to Europe, while returning trains are usually loaded with dairy products from Belarus, French wine and German beer, for instance.
Li Chongyu, a general manager at China Railway International Group, said that in the last 7 years, besides the expanding network, efforts have been made to raise efficiency and lower costs. Travel time has been shortened to less than two weeks from more than 20 days for many journeys, and transport costs have been cut by 40 percent, he said.
It is expected that China-Europe rail services could double their share of trade by volume over the next decade.