A train loaded with epidemic prevention materials departed on Sunday from Chongqing and headed to Poznan, a major city in midwestern Poland. The route would pass through Alashankou in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
It was the first rail load of epidemic prevention supplies to be exported via block train by China Railway Express (Chongqing), or Yuxinou (Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe) International Railway during COVID-19 pandemic.
A block train is a freight train that runs as a complete unit from the loading point to the unloading point without intermediate stops. This one was carrying 86 containers of surgical masks, medical protective clothing and gloves valued at 13.43 million euros ($15 million).
With the spread of COVID-19 around the globe, many countries are facing shortages of epidemic prevention supplies. Most international airlines and shipping companies have gradually grounded their routes in China, blocking export of much of such material. And so the international rail link becomes a good alternative, thanks to its one-stop customs service and a mode of transport that greatly reduces the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
The nearly 11,180-kilometer link begins in Chongqing, crosses the border into Kazakhstan at Alashankou, Xinjiang, and passes through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland before reaching its terminus in Duisburg, Germany.
It cuts what was a five-week shipping period to about two weeks and costs 80 percent less than air freight. To ensure the smooth operation of the train, Yuzhou Customs affiliated with Chongqing Customs opened a fast track for customs clearances. A special team was set up to work more than six hours overnight to ensure that the train’s goods were examined and released first, and that they departed on time.
“Since the outbreak of coronavirus, Yuxinou has increased its transportation capabilities for importing and exporting epidemic prevention materials and international parcels,” said Qi Dan, general manager of Yuxinou (Chongqing) Logistics Co.”It has become a critical channel for the global transportation of epidemic prevention materials.”