China-Europe freight rail connects Yiwu, Hanoi
A freight train departs from the Yiwuxi Railway Station to Hanoi, Vietnam on Oct 10.

The Yiwu-Xinjiang-Europe freight service launched its first train to Hanoi, Vietnam on Oct 10.

It is the freight service’s 13th rail line, the first line to be opened since Yiwu received approval to build a free trade zone, and the first to connect Yiwu with Southeast Asia.

Cargo train services have been becoming an increasingly important logistics channel, helping ensure that trade can continue as maritime cargo transport is disrupted by the pandemic, according to China State Railway Group, the country’s railway operator.

The Yiwu-Xinjiang-Europe freight service made its maiden journey from Yiwu to Madrid, Spain in 2014 and now travels along international routes to over 30 countries.

Freight trains leaving Yiwu have seen a surge in number of trips and shipment volume from a year earlier, and around 1,000 trips are projected for the entire year.

Yiwu and Vietnam boast close economic ties. From January to August, their bilateral trade was valued at 3.24 billion yuan ($480.5 million), up 75.09 percent year on year despite a sluggish global economy.