A train carrying 50 40-feet containers of cargo left the Zhongding Logistics Park in Jinzhong, Shanxi province, on June 2. Bound for Paris, it marked the debut of Shanxi-France freight train service.
The debut is just one part of the China-Europe freight train service from this North China province, which includes several routes to different destinations.
The first Shanxi-France freight train carried more than 700 metric tons of commodities made locally. They include medical equipment, fitness facilities, tires and automobiles.
Covering a trip of about 11,000 kilometers via Mongolia, Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany, the train is scheduled to arrive at Valenton railway terminal in Paris on June 22.
Wang Guoqing, a manager at Shanxi-Europe Logistics, which is responsible for the train's operations, said the medical supplies on the first Shanxi-France freight train will significantly help European countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shanxi began its China-Europe freight train services in February 2017. With trade between Shanxi and European countries growing, the operations have expanded to nine routes. The frequency has been increased from once a month to at least three times a week, according to Zhou Zhifei, deputy general manager of Zhongding Logistics Park.
Statistics show that more than 70 freight trains left Zhongding for Europe so far in 2021, an increase of 48 percent from the same period last year.
To date, a total of 426 freight trains have traveled between Shanxi and Europe since 2017.
"We are planning for more train routes to destinations like Spain, Belgium and Denmark," Zhou said.
He said the China-Europe freight train service is an important channel for the export of Shanxi-made commodities. Shanxi's major exports to Europe include train wheel sets, stainless steel, machines, ceramics and textiles.
Timber is the staple commodity that Shanxi imported from Europe. According to Wang of Shanxi-Europe Logistics, about 100 trains returning from Europe this year will carry timber to Shanxi.
Shanxi also plans to extend its China-Europe freight train services to the rest of country through multimodal shipment routes.
In January, a land-sea transmodal shipment route from Zhongding Logistics Park to the Ningbo Zhoushan Port in East China's Zhejiang province was launched.
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