China Europe freight trains keep trade up with Europe
The first China-Laos-Thailand International cold chain train departs from Shenzhen Pinghu South Railway logistics park in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong province, on April 21, 2022. (Photo by

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Guangdong province saw 230 international freight trains depart for overseas destinations in the first four months of this year, demonstrating a strong rebound in the southern province’s foreign trade and economy.

The figure represented a year-on-year growth of 91.6 percent, statistics from Guangdong Customs revealed.

The growing number of freight trains that set out mainly from prosperous Pearl River Delta cities in the province headed to destinations in central Europe, central Asia and Southeast Asia that have already established very close economic ties with Guangdong, Guangdong Customs said in a statement.

On May 10, a freight train carrying 100 standard containers of lamps, furniture, clothing, shoes, boots, household appliances and related products manufactured in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area left the Guangzhou Dalang international logistics and freight base for its European destination.

It was the 500th freight train that has headed to Europe from the Dalang base since its maiden trip in August 2016.

By the end of April, a total of 27 freight trains had headed from cities in the Greater Bay Area to Vientiane, the Laotian capital, via the China-Laos Railway line, which started operations in early December.

The Greater Bay Area includes the Guangdong cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Dongguan, Foshan, Zhongshan, Huizhou, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing, plus the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.

Guangdong, China’s biggest province for foreign trade, had an import and export volume of more than 8.27 trillion yuan ($1.28 trillion) in 2021, up 16.7 percent year-on-year and representing about 22 percent of the country’s total.

Wang Kan, deputy director of Guangdong Customs, said the sustained increase in the number of Sino-foreign freight trains that depart from Guangdong has helped build a dense and advanced transportation network and created an efficient logistics channel for the province to further develop its foreign trade industry and expand its exchanges and cooperation with the rest of the world.

Guangdong has seven departure stations for international freight trains, mainly in the Greater Bay Area cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan and Jiangmen.

“Customs departments in Guangdong have introduced internet plus and online information platforms to help achieve integrated customs clearance and paperless declaration for local companies to ensure the efficient customs clearance of Sino-foreign freight trains,” he said.

Yang Jing, director of railway station customs in Guangzhou, said it takes an average of 15 days from the confirmation of demand to the arrival at their foreign destinations for each freight train that departs from Guangzhou Dalang, less than half the time compared with marine transportation.