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China-Europe railway helping continent beat contagion

By WANG QINGYUN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-04-25 15:38

A cargo train bound for Duisburg in Germany leaves Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, on March 28, 2020. [Photo by Ke Hao/For China Daily]

The China-Europe Railway Express serves as an artery for medical supplies and daily necessities to Europe and promotes China-Europe cooperation in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, Beijing said on Friday.

The rail network, which contains dozens of routes, was opened in 2011 and allows freight trains to travel between Chinese and European cities. On April 14, a freight train arrived in the Germany city of Duisburg from Wuhan, Hubei province.

It's the first China-Europe Railway Express train to have departed Wuhan-the hardest-hit Chinese city-since the outbreak began, and its operation marked full restoration of cargo transport from China to Europe.

Zhao Jun, head of China State Railway Group's freight department, said earlier this month that as many as 1,440 tons of medical supplies had been delivered via the express routes to Italy, Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic and other countries amid pandemic control efforts.

More than 1,900 trips had been operated in the first quarter this year, up 15 percent year-on-year, Zhao said.

The trains delivered more than 170,000 twenty-foot equivalent units of cargo-18 percent more than the same period last year, Zhao added.

Similar increases continued in April, Geng said, adding that the express trains will also help cushion China-Europe supply chains against the pandemic.

"The outbreak has disrupted logistics worldwide and led to shrinking global trade. The stable operation of the express trains helps with cross-border flows of goods, as well as resumption of business for companies," he said.

China hopes to work with Europe to further increase train capacity and economic benefits, and continue to expand logistics cooperation with Europe to enhance cooperation amid the pandemic battle, Geng added.

On Wednesday, employees of Hengyi Industries boarded a chartered plane of Royal Brunei Airlines in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on their trip to Brunei to resume work on a project, said the company's Chinese investors.

Beijing is assisting Chinese-invested companies to have their overseas projects return to normal operations, Geng said, adding that Hengyi's petrochemical project is key for China-Brunei cooperation in building the Belt and Road.

China hopes to strengthen cooperation with other countries and do its best for a stable global supply chain, and minimize the impact of the pandemic on the world economy, Geng added.


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