1st LD-Writethru-Economic Watch: Xi'an sees rising China-Europe freight train trips

XI'AN, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, saw a surge in China-Europe freight train trips in 2020 despite the impact of COVID-19, local authorities told a press conference on Monday.

The Chang'an China-Europe freight train service operated 3,720 trains last year, 1.7 times that of the previous year, with a total of 1,311 trains bound for Xi'an.

During the period, the train service transported more than 2.81 million tonnes of cargo, increasing by 60 percent year on year. Both the cargo volumes and the number of train trips ranked high among Chinese cities that operate the China-Europe freight service.

"The Chang'an cargo train service has entered normal operations," said He Wenquan, deputy mayor of Xi'an. He added that an average of ten to 12 trains ran via the route per day in 2020, compared with two to three trains per week in the beginning.

Since its launch in November 2013, the Chang'an service has become a golden passage to connect China with countries and regions along the Belt and Road. It has opened 15 cargo routes linking Xi'an with 45 destinations in Asia and Europe.

Due to the city's geographical advantage, the Chang'an service also plays a significant role in facilitating domestic goods distribution.

Su Guofeng, deputy director of the administrative committee of the Xi'an International Trade and Logistics (ITL) Park, said cargo from 29 Chinese provinces are assembled and allocated in Xi'an through rail and road traffic.

In September last year, a cargo train loaded with nearly 300 tonnes of tea from southwest China's Guizhou Province arrived in Xi'an for the first time to reach Russia and Central Asia via the Chang'an China-Europe cargo service.

"The new cargo route can save one-third of the time it used to take to reach Tashkent, Minsk, and other cities," said Ruan Hong, president of a Guizhou logistics firm that participated in organizing cargo for the route. "It can significantly help us collect products from Guizhou and surrounding areas."

Xi'an has opened 12 routes to date, linking main cargo sources such as Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta regions with the Chang'an cargo service.

With an eye on policy merits, including the booming Chang'an cargo train service and bonded zones, some enterprises from coastal cities of southeast China have gradually shifted their production to Xi'an and the regions around the city.

Shaanxi SYC Electronics Technology Co., Ltd., a computer monitor manufacturer, moved to the Xi'an comprehensive bonded zone from Shenzhen in 2018. Thanks to the Chang'an cargo service, it not only managed to stabilize its traditional markets in the Republic of Korea and Japan but also tapped emerging markets in Central Asia, Poland, and Turkey.

"We exploit the markets where the Chang'an service can arrive," the firm's founder Zhang Yiming said.

More than 40 electronic product-processing enterprises have so far moved to the ITL Park.

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