China-Europe freight trains in full swing despite epidemic gloom
At the transport hub of China-Europe freight trains in the eastern Chinese city of Xiamen, several container trailers on Tuesday morning were being busily loaded with goods bound for Hamburg, Germany.
Despite the COVID-19 epidemic that has shaken the global economy and necessitated transportation restrictions, China-Europe freight trains in Xiamen are gaining steam, providing a safe and efficient logistics platform for enterprises.
"The epidemic had limited influence on our production. The stable operation of China-Europe cargo trains can guarantee the timely delivery of our LCD panels to a Polish factory," said Wang Weidi, manager of the logistics department of TPV Display Technology (Xiamen) Co., Ltd.
According to Wang, the company had exported a total of 705 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of electronic products through the cargo train service in the first five months of this year, 26 TEUs less than the same period last year.
"It's not easy to achieve such a result, especially amid the epidemic. The train service has provided a solid foundation for our production and sales in the European market," Wang said.
From Jan. 1 to May 29, a total of 112 China-Europe cargo trains had departed from Xiamen, transporting 10,206 TEUs worth around 396 million U.S. dollars, up 84 percent, 119 percent and 120 percent year on year, respectively, according to Xiamen's Haicang Customs House.
Chen Qi, head of Haicang Customs House, said the China-Europe freight trains departing from the coastal city of Xiamen now make nine trips every week, compared with six trips in the past, to meet customers' booming demand.
Nationwide, China-Europe freight trains hit a new high of 1,033 trips in May, up 43 percent year on year, transporting a record of 93,000 TEUs of freight, data from the China State Railway Group Co., Ltd. showed.
The coronavirus has severely affected air, sea and road transportation. With competitive costs, convenient customs clearance and other advantages, however, China-Europe freight trains have served as a bridge to boost trade between China and Europe amid the epidemic, according to Li Peigong, a professor with Shanghai Lixin University of Accounting and Finance.
China's foreign trade with the European Union (EU) totaled 1.6 trillion yuan (about 226 billion U.S. dollars) in the first five months of this year, making the EU the largest trading partner of China during the period, according to the General Administration of Customs.
The freight trains have also been playing a crucial role in supporting Europe's anti-epidemic fight, sending 1.86 million pieces of supplies totaling 12,524 tonnes to European countries including Poland, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and the Netherlands from January to May.
"The nonstop operation of China-Europe freight trains amid the epidemic has provided strong support in stabilizing the global supply chain," Li said.
"The China-Europe freight train service helps enhance the economic and trade cooperation between China and European countries, which aids the recovery of the global economy," Li added.