China’s rail shipments to Europe set records as demand surges for Chinese goods amid coronavirus

09.04.2020

Once regarded as merely ornamental, freight service along Belt and Road trade routes has become increasingly important as exporters turn to railway transport

July saw 1,232 cargo trains travel from Chinese cities to European destinations — the most ever in a single month. The latest figures China Railway showed that a total of 1,232 trains were arranged from different Chinese cities to European destinations in July. It was the highest monthly figure ever, and an increase of 68 per cent from a year earlier. In addition, the trains are getting longer as 113,000 standard cargo containers were shipped last month, a year-on-year increase of 73 per cent.

The volume of China’s Belt and Road railway cargo to Europe has set records for five consecutive months as Covid-19 has limited transport by air and sea while causing an increase in the demand for Chinese-made medical supplies abroad.

Chinese media has reported that several cargo shippers had been notified that some of their shipments could not even be completed within the agreed-upon time due to backlogs at borders, as terminals struggle to handle the rise in cargo.

The surge in railway transport shows not only that China has restarted its vast manufacturing apparatus after bringing the coronavirus under control at home, but that the nation has also developed a reliable transport route to send its manufactured products to clients abroad — a sign of resilience in China’s export sector.

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