With China-Europe freight train service witnessing steady growth in the first half of the year, the first freight train heading for the planned largest rail cargo terminal in Russia left Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province, earlier this month to further boost trade volume between China’s northeastern region and Europe.
The train is expected to arrive in Moscow within 13 to 15 days. It marks the first time the Berelast Logistics Center, which is located about 70 kilometers from Moscow’s Red Square, participates with China on two-way rail cargo operations between the two continents.
“The building of the overseas service terminal for China-Europe freight train services is significant and ensures a smooth flow along the railway logistics corridor between China and Russia,” said Zhang Yi, general manager of Dalian-based Liaoning Port Group, a subsidiary of China Merchants Group, a centrally administrated State-owned enterprise.
The train was loaded with 42 containers transporting auto parts, chemicals and mechanical equipment along with surgical masks donated by the Department of Commerce of Liaoning province and a number of institutions of Shenyang.
Zhang said the rail terminal of the Berelast Logistics Center, which was jointly built by Liaoning Port Group and Russian Railways beginning in 2017, is the first major logistics infrastructure cooperation project between the two countries.
The two sides plan to build it into the largest railway cargo terminal in Russia with a total investment of 2 billion yuan ($283 million) and an annual turnover capacity of 730,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units).
The first phase of the terminal was completed in the first half of this year. It launched its first freight train heading for China on June 18.
Shilo Alexey Nikolaevich, deputy general director of Russian Railways, said it is proof of the efficient cooperation between China and Russia in line with the needs of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union.
“Together with China Merchants Group and Liaoning Port Group, we will continue to fully support the infrastructure construction of the Berelast Logistics Center, accelerate the improvement of service functions and promote the growth of cargo volume,” Nikolaevich said.
As for construction of the Berelast Logistics Center, Song Yanlin, director-general of the Liaoning commercial department, said the province will speed up construction of a green Customs clearance pilot project between China and Russia as well as the building of overseas warehouses and hub ports between Liaoning and Belyy Rast to promote trade between Northeast China and Russia.