On 18 August, the Office of the Leading Working Group for Promoting the Construction of the One Belt, One Road Initiative and China State Railway Group Co Ltd published the report on the development of freight traffic on the China-Europe route for 2021, which states that China is willing to participate in a joint research on the establishment of intergovernmental cooperation framework for China-Europe freight trains, building a stable international production system and supply chain, as well as conducting studies in the field of new technologies and equipment.
China will continue to use the role of the special lending scheme of the One Belt, One Road Initiative, the Silk Road Fund and special investment funds to strengthen ties between opposite ends of the continent. It is ready to intensify the development of digital and intelligent support for freight transportation along the China-Europe route, jointly improve technical standards, and promote digital applications for freight transportation.
Xu Jianping, Director of the Department of Regional Openness of the National Development and Reform Commission, stated at a press conference in Beijing that freight transportation on the China-Europe route has played a key role in strengthening international economic and trade relations. According to him, rail service is becoming increasingly important to deepen cooperation between Asia and Europe, support China’s regional economic development and ensure the safety of production and supply chains.
The next stage in the development of the Belt and Road will be the modernization and reconstruction of certain sections of railroads to increase their capacity, the development of key ports, and the expansion of transport corridors in various regions, including Central and Eastern Europe, Central and Western Asia.
As of the end of July 2022, a total of more than 57,000 freight train trips had taken place between China and Europe, involving 5.3 million twenty-foot containers of goods worth about 2 trillion yuan. A network of 82 rail routes covers 24 countries and 196 cities in Europe.
In 2021, China’s foreign trade with 24 countries «connected» by rail reached 6.88 trillion yuan, an increase of 19.7 percent over the same period in 2020. The total number of freight trains passing through Russia increased by 15 percent in 2021.