The rapid development of China-Europe freight trains(Chengdu) drives regional foreign trade
A China-Europe (Chengdu) Railway Express freight train carrying 50 containers of goods departs from Chengdu International Railway Port to Poland in July. (Photo by BAI GUIBIN/ FOR CHINA DAILY)

The China-Europe (Chengdu) Railway Express, departing from Chengdu International Railway Port, has become a major channel to connect Chinese businesses with global markets, and making Chengdu an active player in the modern Silk Road Economic Belt.

Starting operation in 2013, China-Europe freight trains on the Chengdu route now outperform many other areas in China in terms of dispatched trains, frequency and efficiency.

In 2020, the Chengdu route transported goods worth 150.7 billion yuan($23.3 billion) into and outside China, up from less than 10 billion yuan in 2013. Chengdu has become a trade hub for automobiles, meat, wine, wood and grains among regions taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative.

The China-Europe(Chengdu) Railway Express has become one of the most reliable and stable international channels for the transportation of goods amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Chengdu has been working to support cross-border e-commerce by taking advantage of the China-Europe (Chengdu) Railway Express.

On June 18, a train carried 50 containers of high-value goods, like electrical appliances and automobile diagnostics systems, departed from Chengdu to Poland. The combined value of those goods was nearly 30 million yuan.

It was the first time for the Chengdu route to launch such business-to-business export freight services for cross-border e-commerce businesses. The train arrived in Poland’s Malaszewicze after 12 days, traveling 9,800 kilometers.

Gu Yi, general manager of the international department at the Shanghai Yunda Express, said this newly launched China-Europe freight train service was highly anticipated by cross-border e-commerce businesses.

“China-Europe freight trains have formed a strong logistics network in Eurasia, covering dozens of countries,” Gu said.”We hope to tap into overseas markets with the help of expanding the network of the Chengdu route.”

Official statistics show that Chengdu International Railway Port handled 2.4 million import and export e-commerce orders in 2020, about 2.8 times those in 2019. Between January and May this year, the value of cross-border e-commerce imports and exports had grown 15.4 percent year-on-year since 2020.

“China-Europe freight trains on the Chengdu route have become one of the best logistics options for foreign trade companies across the country,” said Yan Yi, deputy head of Qingbaijiang Customs.

“At the beginning of 2013, there were merely more than 200 companies involved. Now the train service has cooperation with more than 10,000 companies, covering 31 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities across the country,” he said.

To meet the foreign trade demand of local small and medium-sized enterprises, Chengdu resorted to “market procurement trade”, a new development pattern featuring low logistical costs, fast customs clearance and flexible foreign exchange management. This has simplified the customs clearance process for local enterprises.

“In the past, it used to be troublesome for individual merchants to be qualified for foreign trade. But now the export process through the market procurement trade is smooth. And with the logistics network of the China-Europe Railway Express, it brings opportunities to merchants in small commodity businesses,” said an official from the Sichuan Provincial Department of Commerce.

A China-Europe (Chengdu) Railway Express freight train-carrying 50 containers of locally produced consumer goods including home textiles, clothing and daily necessities valued at 40 million yuan-departed from Chengdu on July 22. Its route connects Longchang in Sichuan province to countries such as Poland, Hungary and Germany. Longchang has become the second city in Sichuan to enjoy benefits from the market procurement trade model.

The next focus of Chengdu International Railway Port will be strengthening its function as a key land port and improving the international supply chain. An international commodity exhibition and trading center to demonstrate goods from countries taking part in the BRI will be built. It will serve demand from Pan-European and Pan-Asian markets.


Yang Yuchao contributed to this story.