The Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe container railway service has launched its first return service from Duisburg, Germany, and is expected to arrive in Chongqing in mid-March, carrying 41 TEU of Ford auto parts.
As freight rates continue to fall and cargo sources grow, the Germany-bound service will be increased to three runs and Chongqing-bound to one per week later this year, said Xinhau. The return leg will catch up with the Germany-bound frequency in three year, said Mu Huaping, director of Chongqing Commission of Economy and Information Technology.
Mr Mu said the upgrade of the service will make Chongqing a distribution centre for Europe's trade goods with China and cement its status as the largest hub for Sino-European trade in the western region.
The Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe cargo railway covers 11,179 kilometres. It runs from Chongqing via Xinjiang, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland to Germany's Duisburg.
Transit time for a single journey is 16 days. Since opening for traffic in 2011, the railway has become an important channel for exports to Europe from the western province. However, higher freight rate and lack of cargo had impeded the launch of the return service from Germany.
Since the later half of 2012, the rate of the service has been lowered from US$0.9 to $0.7 per TEU per kilometre with the collaboration between government of Chongqing, China Railway Group and logistics operators from countries along the line.
The service is 30 days faster than ocean shipping with only one fourth of the cost of air transport. So far, it has operated 58 runs carrying a total of 5,000 TEU of goods with value of more than $1 billion.