|A Thousand Trains to Europe|
At 3:18 p.m. on June 16th, the X8022 Sino-European CRE train was loaded with 100 TEUs of merchandise, hardware and the like, and departed Yiwu West to Moscow. This marked the 1000th train departing from the Jinhua-Yiwu CRE platform this year, a highly anticipated annual achievement. During the COVID-19 pandemic, air and sea transportation has been strongly affected, whereas the transfer of goods from China to Europe by train has been increasing, showing a positive momentum for the China-Europe Railway Express trains.
As of June 16th, a total of 82,982 TEUs were shipped through CRE departing from Yiwu, marking an increase in volume of imports and exports by 223.8% year-on-year. Among them, 688 trains with 56,950 TEUs departed China, increasing by 124.9% YoY, and 315 trains with 26,032 TEUs returned to China, increasing 83.7 times YoY.
This year, the 1000th train departure was achieved four months earlier than last year for three main reasons, Ye Qiuran, assistant general manager of YXE Trading Service Group Co., Ltd., explained: First, in the first half of last year, the operations of YXE CRE were affected by the pandemic; second, since the second half of last year, the price of international sea shipping has been rising, making a number of customers choose railway shipping; third, the pandemic is still an issue in some countries, and because railway transportation requires minimal physical contact, it has won the favor of a number of customers.
However, the imbalance between imports and exports has been a major bottleneck in the development of CRE trains. “But this year, the number of returning YXE CRE trains has grown rapidly, becoming the biggest bright spot,” said Luo Jianyan, executive vice-president of the Jinhua-based Mid-Zhejiang International Logistics Development Co., Ltd. In particular, the number of containers returned to Yiwu increased 48.9 times, including imported goods such as cotton yarn, electrolytic copper, raw materials for paper production, and red wine, as well as electronic machinery and other high-end consumer goods.
“Last year, the number of trains in the province reached 1399, a major increase in volume,” said a spokesperson of Municipal Market Development Committee, and went on saying that in this context, it is necessary to adopt digitalization, specialization, and quality as a breakthrough, and strive to consolidate the foundation, improve the efficiency, and expand the services.
In fact, considering the continuous growth of transportation volume, the provincial focus on YXE CRE trains is shifting mere “volume expansion” to overall “quality improvement.” (By Wu Fengyu, translated by Marco Lovisetto, edited by Mariam Ayad)