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Rail linking Europe expected to open up China's less-developed West

07-02-2011 09:11 BJT

CHONGQING, July 1 (Xinhua) -- A cargo train filled with laptops and LCD screens has left Chongqing, a mega-city in China's less-developed western regions, starting its 13-day trip to Duisburg, Germany, which marks the official launch of the new transcontinental rail freight route.

China's new transcontinental rail freight route is undergoing final testing before launch. The new rail route witnessed its official opening on Thursday night, after three test runs since March last year.(Sources: Chinanews.com File Photo)

The new rail route witnessed its official opening on Thursday night, after three test runs since March last year.

Clattering out of the station at about 9 p.m., the cargo train is set to travel 11,179 kilometers across the far western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, before finally reaching Germany.

The route offers a major shortcut to the more traditional sea trade routes from Shanghai and Guangzhou, cutting travel time to Europe from about 36 days by container ship to just 13 days by freight train, said Huang Qifan, mayor of the inland business hub.

Huang said that the train is also safer and less expensive than sea transport.

Though the rails have been there for over ten years, the route is new as no train services linking Chongqing and Europe have been provided before due to complicated customs checks and cargo transfers, according to Ma Zhongyuan, director of Chongqing customs.

Last year, China signed a strategic agreement with Russia and Kazakhstan to open the new freight route, as the country is trying to build the inland labor-rich municipality into an international high-tech hub, especially for laptops.

Foxconn, the world's biggest contract electronics supplier, Acer, Taiwan's leading computer maker, and Hewlett-Packard(HP) are already in place in Chongqing to produce laptops.

 


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