Shandong promotes exports via Europe-Asia freight trains

( )| Updated : 2018-11-05

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The Qilu Europe-Asia freight trains, with an integration of resources, simultaneously launched in Jinan, Qingdao, Zibo and Linyi of Shandong province on Oct 31, 2018.

The Europe-Asia freight train, as "an important carrier to deepen the economic and trade cooperation between China and other countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and as a key driver to push forward the construction of the BRI, has achieved an average annual growth of over 50 percent for seven consecutive years.  

More than 11,000 such freight trains have been opened around China, with 65 routes being stably launched in 52 domestic cities. The Europe-Asia freight trains have reached 44 cities of 15 European countries to date. 

Since Chongqing municipality took the lead in opening the Europe-Asia freight train in 2011, other provinces in China, such as Sichuan, Henan, Shaanxi, Zhejiang and Jiangsu, have followed it up successively. 

The model of the "Europe-Asia freight train +", with the unified operation platform, supportive policies and virtuous development mechanism, has been shaped. The accumulative freight services in Chongqing and Chengdu has reached over 2,000 to date.

Shandong province has succeeded in completing the integration of resources for the Europe-Asia freight trains, which will strongly support it to further respond to the BRI, achieve opening-up and reform at a higher level, build a major international logistics channel and push forward a new pattern of all-around opening-up. 

The first launch was a symbol for Shandong province to enter a new stage of high-quality development with a unified brand, train schedules, platform, assistance and publicity for the Europe-Asia freight train. 

Four trains full of mechanical equipment, components, vehicles, building materials, small commodities, coffee and other commodities separately pulled out of the terminals, heading towards significant cities involved in the BRI, including Moscow, Tashkent and Astana.

Shandong serves as a vital intersection of the BRI. Since 2015, nine cities of Shandong, including Qingdao, Weifang, Linyi, Binzhou, Jinan, Zibo, Weihai, Rizhao and Jining, have welcomed the Europe-Asia freight trains with the total of freight services now numbering 800. 

It has launched 265 schedules in the first nine months of this year, including 32 schedules of China-Europe freight trains and 15 schedules of return freight trains as well as 233 schedules of China-Asia freight trains and 14 schedules of return freight trains.

However, the Europe-Asia freight trains in Shandong have been subject to severe conditions. Without unified guidance and support of policies, the situation of merchandise resources' malignant competition and its outflow to other provinces is quite serious. The Europe-Asia freight trains in Shandong province are in "scattered, disordered and weak" conditions. 

Due to less train schedules and returns, short routes and huge losses, several cities, including Rizhao, Binzhou and Qingdao, cannot benefit from a series of preferential policies of the railroad system, such as the policy of volume-price binding, the priority arrangement and the priority access. They have chosen to pass through Chengdu, Zhengzhou and Xi'an. 

According to the China Railway Corporation, the arrangements will be gradually canceled for those trains, which means there will be less than one freight service each week from the latter half of this year.

The Shandong provincial Party committee and provincial government has always attached importance to the development of the Asia-Europe freight trains. In 2016, through active endeavor and cooperation, three cities, including Jinan, Qingdao and Linyi, were brought into the "Development Plan of China-Europe Freight Train Construction (2016-2020)".

Shandong provincial government held the executive meeting, adopting the "Suggestions on boosting the Coordinated Development of Europe-Asia Freight Train in Shandong province" on Oct 17, 2018. 

According to the suggestions, taking the replacement of old growth drivers with new ones as the guidance and the high-quality development as the objective, it is supposed to focus on the optimization of transport organization, arrange the operation routes of the freight trains and improve its operation quality in accordance with the principles of "government-led, overall integration, enterprise-oriented and market-operation".

The suggestions required cities, departments and institutions to offer active support and policy guidance for the train-related freight, routes, capital, land, project construction, customs supervision, publicity and marketing, including the establishment of a coordination mechanism, the enhancement of communication and the improvement of supervision and assessment.

Shandong Hi-speed Group Co Ltd has taken the lead in coordinating and integrating all operation entities and organizing the unified operation entity in Shandong. It has managed to successfully launch the whole-journey service of the freight trains and develop its domestic and overseas businesses, pushing forward the implementation of the unified brand, train schedule, platform, assistance and international publicity of the Europe-Asia freight train. By 2021, it aims to open 1,000 two-way Europe-Asia freight trains, including 300 China-Europe freight trains.

According to the Shandong Development and Reform Commission, after the coordination and integration of the Europe-Asia freight trains, the current disordered and divided conditions will be changed. The operation mechanism of the Europe-Asia freight trains with unified organization, management, scheduling and cargo allocation will be formed, enhancing the operation efficiency and comprehensive competence as well as advancing Shandong province's Europe-Asia freight trains to step onto a new track with constant and rapid healthy development.

The Europe-Asia freight trains will further unblock the international logistics channel which connects Shandong province with Japan and South Korea to the east, with Europe and Africa to the west, with the ASEAN to the south and with Russia to the north, consolidating the opening-up platform and carrier and creating a new pattern of extensive and convenient "2+N" international land transportation and multimodal transportation. 

The spillover effect of "Europe-Asia freight trains +" will be formed, which will advance the economic and trade cooperation between Shandong province and other countries involved in the BRI, better deal with China-US trade friction and promote the development of an open economy in Shandong.


The Qilu Europe-Asia freight train leaves Zibo, Shandong province on Oct 31. [Photo/]


The Qilu Europe-Asia freight train leaves Linyi, Shandong province on Oct 31. [Photo/]


The Qilu Europe-Asia freight train leaves Jiaozhou, a county-level city in Qingdao, Shandong province on Oct 31. [Photo/]