TRENDING Explainer: A decade of the 'caravans of steel camels' of the Belt and Road Initiative


Explainer: A decade of the 'caravans of steel camels' of the Belt and Road Initiative

People's Daily app

12:13, November 04, 2021

The China-Europe Railway Express plays a key role in global supply chains.

On March 19, 2011, the first China-EU freight train departed from Chongqing and arrived in Duisburg, Germany.

Since the Belt-and-Road Initiative was introduced in 2013, China-EU freight trains have seen rapid development.

Three primary corridors—the east, central, and west—tie China and Europe together.

174 cities from 23 European countries are covered by this rail network.

In 2020, China allocated 200 million yuan ($28.3 million) toward the construction of five freight hubs: Zhengzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Xi’an, and Urumqi.

Rail service expanded to major Chinese cities including Suzhou, Wuhan, Changsha and Guangzhou.

Over the years, trains have carried a wide variety of goods, including tea, coffee, electronics, furniture, toys and clothing.

In the face of the severe impact of the pandemic, the trains play a key role in stabilizing international supply chains and helping international cooperation to fight COVID-19.

Some 100,000 tons of supplies to fight the pandemic have been sent through this international trade lifeline to other countries as of September.

More than 44,000 trips have been made since the first China-EU freight train set off.

The total value of cargo delivered by the trains has exceeded $200 billion.

In the first nine months of 2021, over 11,000 China-EU freight train trips have been made, a 29 percent increase year-on-year.

On October 29, the first "Jinbo" China-Europe freight train arrived in Shanghai. This was the first time for exhibits to arrive at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) by freight train.

Ten years on, these “caravans of steel camels” continue to empower China’s “dual circulation” economic policy and bring new opportunities to countries along the route.

(Produced by Xie Runjia, Li Bowen and Han Xiaomeng)

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