5th Anniversary of CRE
On November 18, the 5th anniversary of the operation of the Yiwu-Madrid track of the China Railway Express (CRE), a train was again pulling out of Yiwu Station. During the past five years, countless Chinese goods have been unloaded and put on shelves in the supermarkets of countries along the railway line. At the same time, Spanish ham, French wine, Czech crystal glasses, and other international goods have also entered into Chinese houses through Yiwu's market.
On November 18 of 2014, a train with the green logo of the CRE (Yiwu-Madrid) departed from Yiwu West Railway Station, following the ancient Silk Road. After passing through part of the ancient Silk Road—Alataw Pass of Xinjiang Province and Kazakhstan—and then Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, and France, twenty-one days later, the train arrived in Madrid, Spain. This was the first train directly connecting Yiwu (the largest small commodities center in the world) with Madrid (the largest small commodities distribution center in Europe).
Today, the CRE starting from Yiwu has performed more than 900 round trips loaded with more than 70,000 standard containers. The 2,000 kinds of Chinese goods from eight different provinces have been sold to 37 countries and regions in Asia and Europe, covering the major countries and regions along the Silk Road. Among all the lines of the CRE, Yiwu's lines have become the most competitive ones. President Xi Jinping has praised Yiwu on six separate diplomatic occasions for being a bridge between Asia and Europe, and for its achievements in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Since October 9, with the opening of operation of the CRE (Yiwu-Liège), there are 11 lines of the CRE starting from Yiwu. In 2015, Yiwu's trains had only carried out 35 round trips; it became 100 in 2016, 168 in 2017, 320 in 2018, and an estimated 500 round trips in 2019. The destinations include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Spain, Iran, Russia, Latvia, Belarus, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, and Belgium. The line explores an international logistics channel for Zhejiang Province and the Yangtze River Delta, promoting economic and trade exchanges between Jinhua and these countries. The local media in the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and other countries calls the CRE “the Silk Road Express.”
According to the data of Yiwu Customs, from January to October this year, the CRE that starts from Yiwu has carried out 348 round trips, with a total import and export value of 9.29 billion RMB, a year-on-year increase of 19.8%. With the deepening of market exploration, Yiwu's total imports and exports with the countries and regions along the Belt and Road have reached 104.16 billion RMB, an increase of 7.8%, accounting for 48% of the total international trade volume of Yiwu. (By Zhang Zhichang, translated by Li Ziyi, edited by Kendra Fiddler)