Early in the morning at a Chinese rail port, a massive crane was hoisting cargo containers and loading them onto a waiting train.
The containers carried China’s homemade FAW-Hongqi cars. After rolling off the production line in Changchun, northeast China’s Jilin Province, the cars were loaded in the land port and transported to Europe via the China-Europe freight train service.
Over the past few years, the China-Europe freight train service has witnessed rapid expansion in Jilin Province, and the old industrial base has also accelerated its auto exports to the European market through the service.
In the first two months of this year, Changchun Xinglong Customs handled a total of 826 passenger cars exported via the China-Europe freight trains. The figure exceeded the whole of last year, according to Wang Yongjia, deputy director of the Changchun Xinglong customs.
In addition to the export of complete cars, some industrial machinery such as auto parts are also shipped from Changchun to European countries via the service, Wang added.
“The vehicles transported via China-Europe freight trains can reach the European market faster (than sea routes), which not only saves the cash flow but also offers a flexible option for shipment according to overseas sales plans,” said Dai Wei, general manager of Changchun International Land Port Development Co., Ltd.
Cooperation between Chinese automakers such as FAW and overseas enterprises has also accelerated, in a push to make cars more adaptable to the overseas market. FAW has set up overseas R&D institutions such as a design center in Munich and an R&D company in Austria for Jiefang, FAW’s truck brand.
Dai noted that auto glass, carbon, and aluminum products manufactured in Changchun have also been shipped to European countries.
In 2022, Jilin Province launched China-Europe freight trains designated for transporting automobiles and clean energy products for the first time. Since 2023, the province has sent out 11 China-Europe freight trains, carrying 605 twenty-foot equivalent units, according to local authorities.