In a recent report by Xinhua, it was revealed that the Alataw Pass and the Horgos Port in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have successfully managed over 70,000 China-Europe freight trains since their inception. This region, serving as a gateway to Central and Western Asia, has evolved into a crucial transit hub for outbound goods exports to Europe, contributing to the resilience of the China-Europe railway that has been operational since 2011. Over the past decade, this railway has facilitated the transportation of more than 36,000 trains.
The China-Europe railway plays a pivotal role in enabling the overland shipment of goods from Shanghai to Lisbon, ensuring a robust supply chain and resilience for the vast Eurasian landmass. This, in turn, fosters economic integration, mitigates inflation, and enhances convenience for all participants. Particularly during times when traditional shipping routes face disruptions, the railway has proven instrumental in supplying Europe and other regions.
Efficient supply chains necessitate strong logistical networks that seamlessly connect shipping, railway, and road infrastructures. The China-Europe railway, being faster, safer, and more cost-effective than shipping, offers a competitive advantage by delivering goods to Europe in under a week, four times faster than traditional maritime routes.
Amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the China-Europe railway played a crucial role in ensuring a steady flow of medical equipment and supplies to European countries. When global port operations were hampered, causing significant shipping delays and surging sea freight costs, the railway provided a reliable and cost-effective alternative, swiftly transporting vital supplies such as masks, personal protective equipment (PPE), and essential goods.
In 2021, a record-breaking 15,183 train trips were recorded along the Eurasia route, transporting 1.46 million 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers. By January 2022, more than 50,000 train trips had delivered 4.55 million TEU of cargo worth $240 billion to 180 cities in 23 European countries, according to figures from the China State Railway Group Company.
Beyond geopolitical considerations, the China-Europe railway serves as a model of successful integration between two regions through infrastructure. Landlocked countries along the route, lacking maritime shipping options, benefit from the railway by enhancing their export capabilities both eastward and westward.
In essence, the China-Europe railway stands as a positive force in promoting stable and secure supply chains across the vast Eurasian region. By offering an alternative to traditional shipping methods, it accelerates economic development along its routes, fostering new opportunities and strengthening ties between countries.