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Direct cargo train running between Chengdu & Lodz


06-20-2016 12:24 BJT

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The rail cargo service between the Chinese city of Chengdu and Poland’s Lodz has become a popular logistics route for Chinese trade with Europe. It is the fastest direct freight route between the two regions.

A cargo train loaded with goods from China arrives at a terminal in Poland. During its journey starting from Chengdu, it ran close to parts of the legendary Silk Road, passing through Uzbekistan, Russia, Belarus before entering Poland.

After 11 days travel, cargo from Chengdu-Europe Express are unloaded at this train terminal. And these containers are from China. In there, there are computer components and mobile parts. From here, all the Chinese goods will be distributed to other parts of Europe.

Located in central Poland, the terminal is one of the major logistic hubs in Europe. Since 2013, around 240 trains have traveled between here and China. As the frequency of the train service increases, the fare is coming down to close to the cost of sea shipping.

"For last two years, there was just one train weekly from China to Europe, but this year we started with two train services every week. Two trains to China, two trains to Europe. So now the frequency is quite often. I think it is very good for our customers, because we can say every three days, from and to China. Expectations, I think we will have more and more trains. because the plan for this year is 400 trains, the plan for next year is one thousand trains," Slawomir Knap, director of Hatrans Logistics, said.

The factory of Chinese TV manufacturer TCL lies 98 km from the terminal. TV components used to be transported from China by sea. The lengthy transport periods made it difficult for the company to compete in the ever-changing European market. To cut their delivery times, the company decided to take advantage of this rail cargo service.

"Our production relays on component delivery from our manufacturing in China. Before, we were using sea transportation, which is quite long. To get the components from China, it took about 35 days. Now with railway transportation, we can get the material within two weeks, 14 days. This is significant improvement on our material deliveries. With that, we can be much more reactive on our customer demands. Delivery the product faster than before," Tomasz Olender, deputy GM of TCL Operation Poland, said.

Not just from China, but also to China. Each week, the cargo train returns to Chengdu loaded with Polish products. The amount is still relatively low compared to the imports, but Poland hopes the rail link could help balance trade with China.

"Train comes to Poland with Chinese products, but there is the problem of filling these containers with Polish products. In August last year 2015, there were trains going both ways. From China to Poland and from Poland to China with Polish products, with agriculture products, beverages, alcoholic and some sweets. So that is a good sign that we could do something to improve our trade balance," Justyna Szczudlik, China analyst with Polish Institute of Int'l Affairs, said.

China is pushing its plan to reinvigorate the ancient Silk Road. This rail service has become a new Silk Road that links China and Europe.

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