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Exceeded 10,000 trains, International Efforts Pave Way for CR Express Yuxinou

By RAN ZHENGICHONGQING|Jun 29,2022

On June 22, the China Railway Express to Europe (Yuxinou) officially exceeded 10,000 trains. As the pioneer of China Railway Express to Europe, the Yuxinou (Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe) International Railway has been operating for more than ten years. What is the milestone behind it? Let’s take a look.

On June 23, the China Railway Express to Europe (Yuxinou) departed from Chongqing International

On June 23, the China Railway Express to Europe (Yuxinou) departed from Chongqing International Logistics Hub Park for Duisburg, Germany. (iChongqing file photo)

Self-invented insulated container

The basis for the development of logistics corridors is stable and consistent transportation. As soon as Yuxinou International Railway was put into use, it encountered difficulties. Most electronic products cannot be stored at lower than -20 ℃. But this express line must pass through several arctic regions, the coldest of which is Astana, Kazakhstan, where the lowest temperature could be below -40 ℃. At that time, Chongqing’s solution was to use diesel generator temperature containers or unique heat storage insulation boards to keep the temperature in safe ranges.

However, these methods were not perfect. Yuxinou (Chongqing) Logistics Co., Ltd., with BASF, Honeywell, and other enterprises, as well as universities and scientific research institutions, jointly launched technical research. The team finally found a new material that crystalizes and releases heat at low temperatures while melts and stores heat at high temperatures. Then they developed the new material into a storage thermostat for over a year. The thermostat can automatically store and release heat without consuming fossil energy. It is highly safe and environmental friendly.

Now, all the products that need temperature control transported by Yuxinou wear the warm coat in winter, which directly contributes to the regular and large-scale operation of the trains throughout the year.

Two-way transportation balance

At first, Yuxinou is always packed on the way out and empty on the way back, resulting in a waste of transport capacity and transport costs. The reason is the insufficient market recognition.

So Chongqing organized a delegation to Europe to widely promote this freight train. Meanwhile, it set up a European Liaison Office in Dusseldorf, Germany, dedicated to finding the source of freights for the return container.

Automobiles, cross-border e-commerce, and other goods have begun to be transported to Chongqing through Yuxinou, then distributed throughout China. In 2019, the number of return trains exceeded that of the outbound trains for the first time, reaching a two-way transportation balance.

The first route to Hamburg

Route expansion is vital to Yuxinou. When Yuxinou started operation, there was only one route between Chongqing and Duisburg, Germany. With the gradual normalization of the train, Chongqing planned to expand the route of Yuxinou.

“Yuxinou is an international freight train that passes through lots of countries. Expanding the route means changing the destination or passing points, which requires the consent of each country along the route in advance,” said an official from Yuxinou (Chongqing) Logistics Co., Ltd.

“Hamburg has a highly-developed railway and multimodal transport, which can connect China Railway Express and inland Europe; the sea transportation can connect Northern Europe, Baltic countries as well as Russia. In addition, it has market demand, so we finally chose Hamburg as the destination of the first expansion route,” said the official.

Chongqing successively negotiated with Kazakhstan, Belarus, and other countries to set up the new route from Chongqing directly to Hamburg.

Today, there are nearly 40 routes in operation, which can radiate to Europe, Central Asia, Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia, North America, and North Africa, reaching nearly 100 cities in Eurasia.

At the same time, the storage resources have been expanded to 360,000 square meters, with the stackable station area exceeding 250,000 square meters, covering nearly 20 Eurasian countries such as Germany, Poland, Hungary, Laos, and Thailand. It also possesses the first Duisburg overseas warehouse with independent property rights in China, which can fully meet the customers’ diversified transportation needs.

Breaking the ban on postal transport

It is impossible for postal transport by international railway. The agreement on the international railway through the transportation of goods promulgated by the Organization for Cooperation Between Railways (OSJD) in 1956 stipulates that it is not allowed to transport particular postal parcels in the international freight train.

Chongqing actively coordinates with the General Administration of Customs, China Post, and other departments to adjust the inappropriate regulation. Under the efforts of many parties, the railway cooperation organization held a meeting at the government level (the meeting of the Special Committee on Transport Law) in Lithuania. It passed the new version of the international freight association. The relevant description of prohibiting the transportation of particular postal parcels was deleted, opening up a new chapter in railway transportation.

In May this year, Chongqing was approved as the first city to carry out the import postal transportation of the China-Europe Railway Express. Up to now, Yuxinou has transported more than 26 million international postal parcels, with a total value of about 2 billion yuan (about 298 million U.S. dollars). The volume of postal transportation is leading in China.

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