BEIJING – A total of 3,673 freight trains traveled from China to Europe in 2017, the highest number compared to the total previous six years, the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission said on Monday.
The figure shows 116 percent increase in the volume of goods trains that traveled to Europe in 2016.
Yan Pengcheng, a Commission’s spokesperson, said at a press conference that since 2016, the transport of goods from China to Europe has rapidly increased, both in terms of the number of trains and the value of the goods.
The train routes promote trade and economic openness among the countries through which they pass, said Yan, as reported by national newspapers.
China operates a total of 61 routes, which originate in 38 cities of the country that are bound for 36 cities in 13 European countries.
In 2017, the Asian giant incorporated 23 new cities and five new countries to the list of destinations for its goods.
Yan added that last year saw increasing efficiency in freight transport with train speeds of up to 120 kilometers per hour (74.6 miles per hour) in some routes.
Reaching Europe from China now takes about 12-14 days, compared to over 20 days earlier, he explained, which has led to 40 percent fall of the operating costs.
Initially, the railway freight route was reserved for products related to technology – especially mobile phones and computers – but the range of goods has expanded to clothes, footwear, cars and automobile parts, cereals, wine and several other products.
The number of China-Europe freight train trips is expected to cross 4,000 this year, according to the China Railway Corporation.
The train route linking Yiwu with Madrid is currently the longest railway line in the world, stretching 13,052 kilometers (8,110 miles).
In 2018, two new routes have already been opened, one linking Xiamen to Budapest, and another originating in Urumqi and traveling to a port in Kazakhstan, where the freight is transported onto ships to Baku, from where they head to Europe or Asia.