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Trains to better support Belt, Road

Luo Wangshu
Updated: May 27,2017 7:11 AM     China Daily

A committee to coordinate freight rail services between China and Europe was launched in Beijing on May 26.

The committee, initiated by China Railway Corp, consists of 33 stakeholders of China Railway Express, including a number of companies operating the service as well as research institutes.

“The committee will work to improve quality and efficiency of the service to better serve the Belt and Road Initiative,” said Li Wenxin, deputy general manager of China Railway Corp.

Measures to be taken include establishing transfer hubs to assemble container cars for a train trip as needed, launching an international information service, and opening hotline number 95306 for clients to check on their cargo.

Also, a cold container information center will be launched, allowing customers to rent cold storage containers and develop a logistics plan.

Trains have traveled more than 4,000 times between China and Europe, according to China Railway Corp. This year, more than 1,000 CR Express train trips will link 28 Chinese cities with 29 destinations in 11 countries.

The cross-border freight service was launched by local railway authorities and city governments, and is operated by logistics companies. Originally, the route’s name usually was comprised of the departure city, the border port and the destination: Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe, for example. Last year, the National Development and Reform Commission rebranded all services as CR Express as part of its development plan.

Li said the new committee could work as “a coordination platform at the enterprise level” and promote the development of CR Express.

“The committee will stick to the principles of improving communication and sharing and improving logistics, aiming to solve challenges in operating the CR Express such as further reducing logistics costs and improving the service’s quality,” he said.

Although all services are under the same name, the operation remains the same. The committee provides a service for companies to communicate to solve common problems and promote the service’s sustainable development.

“The CR Express service, guided by government and operated by the market, should prioritize the service’s quality and profit,” said Wang Xiaotao, vice-minister of the NDRC, adding that the service should benefit from scientific guidance.

“The committee will improve the service’s operation, expand overseas markets, provide more convenient policies for customs, and study other measures to guide the service’s healthy and orderly development,” said Zhao Wenming, general manager of Zhengzhou International Railway Co, the logistics business that runs the CR Express in Zhengzhou, Henan province.