China sets out strategy to improve trans-Eurasian rail freight flows

The department in charge of developing China’s Belt and Road initiative has released a plan to further the development of China – Europe rail freight flows after the coronavirus pandemic.

The department says rail has maintained safe operation during the pandemic, and should play a key part in stabilising international trade and improving the situation after the virus is contained.

Various measures to make rail freight more efficient have been proposed by the department, including:

  • ensuring safe and stable operation, and working to resolve the impact of the epidemic
  • optimising the business environment
  • promoting the diversification of channels and improving facility support capabilities
  • strengthening the construction of hubs and optimising the formation of trains
  • strengthening the application of technological innovation and enhancing the level of information and intelligence. This includes accelerating the application of modern information technologies such as big data, cloud computing, the internet of things, and mobile connections.
  • promoting regional economic integration and development, and
  • deepening multi-level and multi-field exchanges and promoting international cooperation between China and Europe. This includes the revision of international intermodal regulations and rail-related international standards.

The department has also proposed strengthening emergency safety guarantees. This would involve creating a comprehensive emergency management system for China – Europe freight trains, as well as improving early warning mechanisms and strengthening and enhancing the level of resource integration in emergency situations.

The department is looking to optimise the organisation, quality and efficiency of trans-Eurasian rail operation. It foresees the formulation of China – Europe timetables, dynamically adjusting routes, and promoting the intensive use of route resources.

China also wants to strengthen cooperation with railways in countries along the route, which it says will help to reduce the total running time of the trains.