Graphics: China Railway Express, the modern Silk Road
The China Railway Express (CR Express) is an international multimodal container rail transport service. The freight trains run across China and European countries as well as all countries and regions along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) routes.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the BRI. The bustling CR Express is a reflection of China's robust economic growth and commitment to high-level opening-up.
By the end of 2022, the CR Express trains had completed over 65,000 trips since their debut in 2011 and shipped 6 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of freight worth $300 billion. According to the China Railway, a network of 82 lines of services connects over 200 cities in 25 European countries.
The CR Express services also saw solid growth from January to May in 2023, with the transport capacity and efficiency continuously rising. The number of train services increased by 16 percent year on year to 7,126 trips, and the train lines transported 774,000 TEUs of goods in the first five months of the year, the company said.
The east, middle and west lines are the three major routes for the CR Express. The east line is designated for Chinese exports from the coastal areas of China. In 2022, 4,818 and 884 China-Europe freight trains ran through the major ports, Manzhouli Port in Inner Mongolia Region and Suifenhe Port in Heilongjiang Province. The middle line carried 2,477 freight trains with goods made in central China through the Erenhot Port in 2022. The west line is mainly for exports from western China, and it passes via Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and then further into Central Asia and Europe. In 2022, 6,211 and 7,068 freight trains passed the Alashankou Port and Horgos Port in Xinjiang.
"We are convinced that the China-Europe Railway Express will bring more cooperation opportunities for countries along the route and the BRI will inject fresh impetus into world economic growth," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning at a regular press conference on April 27.