|YXE Trains: From Yiwu to the World|
Containers being lifted by land port crane
Aerial photo of Yiwu Railway Port
Yiwu, a city full of business opportunities, is always bustling. The city is a world cargo destination, having easy access to and from the whole world and playing a major role in global trading. Yiwu has also expanded its range in a comprehensive way by creating an international land port with domestic and international connections, and showing its unique features in the global scenario of the Belt and Road Initiative.
From January to July 2021, the Yiwu-Xinjiang-Europe (YXE) CRE has launched 1225 trains, ranking first in the Yangtze Delta region in terms of shipping volume and third in the country. 817 trains departed from the Yiwu platform and shipped 67,528 TEUs, registering a year-on-year increase of 101.9%. Among them, the proportion of returned trains has increased from 8.5% last year to 25%. This indicates that Yiwu’s function of world supermarket is linking together the Yangtze Delta region and Europe.
“Every day, we manage and upload over a hundred orders and information for cargo transportation of the YXE CRE trains to the International Trade Orders Window of the YXE CRE (the YXE System),” said Li Chengyuan, staff member of Zhejiang Xinshilu Customs Brokerage Co., Ltd. In the first half of 2021, the volume of customs declarations managed through the YXE System increased by 30% year-on-year.
The imbalance of imports and exports has always been a major bottleneck for the development of CRE trains. This year, the number of YXE CRE returning trains has grown rapidly, becoming a major highlight and making Yiwu a major market for products from many countries and regions around the world. Tens of thousands of overseas commodities are gathered in the Yiwu China Imported Commodities Mall, establishing a trading system known as “buying and selling worldwide.”
Visitors from all over the country flock into the Mall every day; people with different accents and speaking different languages become intertwined in such a shopping symphony.
“At present, due to the pandemic, the air transportation capacity from Europe to China is limited and the costs have increased. Container slots for sea shipping are difficult to find and the delivery time is unpredictable. But the YXE CRE trains provide us with a superior transportation channel,” said Li Chengyuan and went on saying that in the first half of this 2021, Zhejiang Xinshilu has shipped auto parts from Germany, wines from Spain, and cosmetics from France.
Li also told reporters that in previous years, the company used the YXE CRE returning trains to transport goods, registering only 45 trains a year, but in the first six months of 2021, it reached 69 trains.
Like steel camels, YXE CRE trains run on the New Silk Road, and its newly opened 16 routes connect Yiwu to London, Prague, Moscow, Dourges, and Liege, among others. Along the routes, the five logistics distribution points and the eight overseas warehouses allow the transported products to easily reach 49 countries.
The launch of the YXE CRE has undoubtedly provided Yiwu foreign trade export enterprises with a safe, efficient, and economic transportation alternative in addition to sea and air transportation. In this regard, a spokesperson of the Yiwu-based Risen Energy Co., Ltd. is firmly convinced about it. In May 2020, a batch of photovoltaic panels produced by Risen Energy was about to be delivered to European customers. According to the delivery date, it was required to be shipped to the Netherlands by the end of July, but the pandemic, particularly its severity in Europe, affected air transport capacity, increased the transportation costs, limited the capacity of maritime transport, and caused delays.
“Delays in the delivery of goods affect both the customers and our company,” Risen Energy spokesperson said. The relevant department of the city government has contacted the companies facing a critical moment, like Risen Energy, and actively coordinated the shipments of goods through YXE CRE trains. On July 4, with the full assistance of the Yiwu-based logistics company Y2EUR, photovoltaic panels produced by Risen Energy were shipped through YXE CRE train to Germany and arrived in Duisburg 18 days later. After local terminal logistics and distribution, the batch was delivered in a timely manner to customers on July 29, which once again highlighted the advantages of railway transportation and demonstrated the efficiency of the YXE brand.
The interconnection brought about by the YXE CRE trains has made trade flow back and forth and greatly reduced logistics costs—a crucial feature for Yiwu enterprises.
Taking a look at relevant data, from November 2014 to the end of December 2020, the cumulative number of YXE CRE trains departed from the Yiwu platform has exceeded 2,000, with a total of more than 170,000 TEUs shipped, and an annual growth rate of over 100%. Such numbers prove the primacy of Jinhua within the Yangtze Delta region, as well as a forefront position throughout the country.
During the five years of CRE operations, the quantity of products sent by YXE trains has been steadily growing, contributing to the affirmation of Yiwu as world supermarket with an influential role within the Yangtze Delta region and a leading role in the promotion of trade with Central Europe.
“Last year, the number of trains departed from the province [of Zhejiang] reached 1399, setting a major quantitative record,” said a spokesperson of the Yiwu Market Development Committee. The spokesperson went on to say that in this context, it is necessary to adopt digitalization, specialization, and quality as breakthrough, and strive to consolidate the foundation, improve the efficiency, and expand the services. (Text and photo by Wu Fengyu, translated by Marco Lovisetto, edited by Mariam Ayad)