Eurasia freight train service going smoothly during Spring Festival
Published: Feb 22, 2021 05:53 PM

A China-Europe freight train pulls out of Alataw Pass in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Feb. 7, 2021. (Xinhua/Ma Kai)

During the Spring Festival week-long holiday, the operation of China-Europe freight train business remained smooth and unaffected as many trains linking China and countries along the Belt and Road in Europe, West Asia and Central Asia were busy transporting essential manufactured goods, according the China's Ministry of Commerce.

With 50 containers of ACs and other commodities, a freight train headed to Tashkent in Uzbekistan from Ganzhou city in East China's Jiangxi Province on February 15. 

Since January, freight trains have made 33 trips in the Ganzhou land port, offering a snapshot of the growth in rail freight between the two ends of the massive continent. 

From beginning of 2021 to the Spring Festival Eve on February 11, China-Europe freight trains have made 1,590 trips, transporting 150,000 TEUs of goods, which are 93 percent and 103 percent higher than the same period last year, according to the commerce ministry.

Since the China-Europe Express Railway project began in 2011, there have been 30 cities in China which have operated in excess of 100 freight trips linking China and 106 cities in 21 countries across Eurasia.

According to Cui Fan, a professor from the School of International Trade and Economics with University of International Business and Economics, the normal operation of China-Europe Express Railway reflects the active cooperation between China and the countries along the BRI.

Cui believes that while the COVID-19 pandemic stalled or disrupted ocean transportation, freight trains provide a good opportunity for China-Europe trade as freight trains have lower cost and faster custom clearance procedures.

In addition, Cui said that amid the pandemic, the fast growth of the cross-border e-commerce sector which requires bulk parcels has increasingly relied on China-Europe rail freight transport.

The thriving China-Europe Railway Express also reflects China's increasing trade ties with the EU. According to a report released by Eurostat, China became the EU's largest trade partner in 2020 as the bilateral trade value hit 586 billion euros.