Silk Road trade on track: Freight train sets off from China to Russia, drastically cutting travel time
According to China Daily, the train is loaded with 50 containers of goods made by the Guangdong-based Midea Group company, a leading home-appliance manufacturer. It is the first export train used by a local home-appliance company since Guangdong opened its China-Europe freight service in 2015.
The special train service will improve the export of goods made in Guangdong to the European market amid the global Covid pandemic, said Sinotrans, the operator of the China-Europe freight service in Dongguan. The number of Sinotrans-operated China-Europe freight trains traveling from South China reached 686 last year, and comprised 61,324 standard containers worth about $3 billion.
Initiated in 2011, the China-Europe rail transport service is considered a significant part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to boost trade between China and other countries participating in the program. The ambitious multi-trillion-dollar initiative was announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.
More than 140 countries and international organizations have inked agreements on jointly building the project since then.
The BRI aims to boost connectivity and cooperation between East Asia, Europe, and East Africa. It is expected to significantly boost global trade, cutting trading costs by half for the countries involved, according to expert estimates.
According to the China State Railway Group, a record 12,400 freight-train trips between China and Europe were made in 2020. That’s up 50 percent on the previous year, the railway operator said.