Freight train from Tianjin, near Beijing to link Europe launched
BEIJING: China launched a freight train that will connect the port city of Tianjin, near Beijing, to Minsk, the capital of Belarus in eastern Europe on Monday. The train carrying 108 containers from the Tianjin Free Trade Zone will arrive at Minsk on December 4.
Scheduled to operate 20 times a year, the train will pass through northern China’s Inner Mongolia and head to the China-Belarus Industrial Park in Minsk. The return trip will carry goods to China, including wood products from Belarus and surrounding countries.
The new train service is expected to handle 30,000 tonnes of goods in a year, official sources said.
This will be the seventh direct train connection between Chinese cities and Europe. At present, there are freight train links between the Chinese city of Suzhou with Warsaw, Lianyugang to Rotterdam, Chengdu to Lodz, Chongqing to Duisburg, Yiwu to Madrid and Zhengzhou to Hamburg. Over a dozen Chinese cities are linked with nine European cities through goods trains.
European countries and industry bodies have often complained that they have little to gain from the new rail routes because China buys much less of European goods than it sells.
In some cases, containers go from Chinese cities filled with goods, and come back empty by ship in order to be filled with goods again from China. It is too expensive to send the empty containers by land, which is why they are sent by sea.
Government sources said it will expand train services to more European cities as part of China’s Maritime Silk Road program. The process of train connectivity began a century back with the Russians launched the trans-Siberian rail route connecting Russia to China.
The past three years has seen the Chinese government expanding freight train connections across Europe in order to overcome the difficulties like piracy and military conflicts involved in sea routes connecting China.
But the first country to launch long distance train routes in Asia was Russia, which established the trans-Siberian route connecting it to China a hundred years back.Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App.
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