Ten years after its launch, the China-Europe freight train service has become an important bridge for international economic and trade cooperation. It now connects 112 cities in China and reaches over 200 cities in 25 European countries and regions, as well as over 100 cities in 11 Asian countries and regions along the route.
The service has three main corridors – western corridor, eastern corridor and middle corridor – through six border crossings. There are now 86 routes operating on a routine basis at 120 km/h, forming the network of international intermodal transport between Asia and Europe.
Ports are important nodes along the China-Europe freight train routes, where trains complete procedures such as load switching, customs declaration, customs clearance, and exit. Over the past 10 years, countries along the China-Europe freight train routes have strengthened the capacity expansion of existing ports, opened new ports, and continuously improved international intermodal transport capabilities to meet the growing demand.
The China-Europe freight train service offers a cost advantage of approximately 1/5 compared to air transportation for shipping goods from China to Europe. Additionally, the transportation time is approximately 1/4 of that of sea transportation. The service also boasts high stability, and thus remains a reliable choice for meeting specific logistics needs that prioritize factors such as high value-added services and strict adherence to delivery timelines.
The average carbon emission of China-Europe freight trains is 1/15 of air transportation and 1/7 of road transportation. This plays a positive role in responding to global climate change and achieving sustainable transportation development.
Multimodal transportation of rail-sea, rail-road, and rail-air will better unleash the efficiency of China-Europe freight trains. Currently there are 29 routes of China-Europe freight trains starting from coastal ports such as Dalian, Tianjin, Qingdao, and Lianyungang. Cities like Guangzhou and Chengdu have built new rail-air cross-border e-commerce export models relying on the China-Europe freight train service, promoting integrated logistics development.
The range of goods transported between China and Europe via the China-Europe freight trains continues to expand. Starting from China, the trains now carry 53 major categories of goods, expanding from mobile phones and computers initially to vehicles, mechanical equipment, electronic products, and more. From Europe to China, the categories have grown from timber, automobiles and spare parts to electromechanical products, food, and medical devices.
The China-Europe freight train service is seeing robust growth. In the first eight months of this year, 11,638 trips were made, carrying over 1.26 million TEUs of goods, up 10 percent and 23 percent respectively compared to the same period last year.
The China-Europe freight train service is a shining example of international cooperation and innovation. It is helping to build a more connected, prosperous, and sustainable world.