Carrying 42 containers and travelling 8,693 kilometers, the first ever China-Europe freight train from Turkey set off from Istanbul on Friday, and will arrive in the city of Xi'an in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province in 12 days, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.
"We welcome the departure of the first Turkish freight train bound for China," Hua told the press on Monday.
Following the coronavirus outbreak, global logistics have suffered severe disruption with global trade also shrinking. Hua said overland freight has shown great capacity to promote cross-border commerce.
Against the backdrop, the number of dispatched China-Europe freight trains has steadily increased. The freight train line connecting Madrid and Yiwu city, East China's Zhejiang Province has seen soaring freight volume, up 106.4 percent year-on-year to amount to 72,140 items of cargo being delivered so far this year, while sea shipping and air freight have been overwhelmed by soaring demand.
Hua said the trains have become the "passage of life" and the "bond of destinies" for countries along the routes to help combat the coronavirus together, forming a "steel camel caravan" while stabilizing global supply chains.
The role of freight trains in exporting goods to China will drive the economic recovery of countries along the routes, enhancing transport, trade and cultural connections, and at the same time better serving local people, the spokesperson noted.
According to data from China Railway, the number of China-Europe freight trains reached 10,180 as of November, already exceeding the total number recorded for 2019. And, the trains travelling along 73 routes passed through 92 cities in 21 European countries.
Railway freight transport network is a showcase of China's vast manufacturing capability. As China's economy continues to grow and Chinese people have access to higher disposable income, there will be more demand for a larger number of high-quality products, technologies and services, Hua said, adding China will continue to provide new opportunities for overseas investors aspiring to enter this huge market place.
China's per capita gross domestic product (GDP) exceeded $10,000 in 2019 with more than 400 million Chinese now classified as middle class consumers. There are international institutions predicting that the scale of the country's retail market scale will surpass $6 trillion this year.
"We welcome every country to take advantage of the vast opportunities in China and enhance the cooperation based on mutual benefit and win-win strategy," she noted.