The frequency of freight trains running between China and Europe increased considerably in the recent months as the rapid spread of COVID-19 crisis led to the grounding of airlines followed by broad shutdown of airports as well as severely affecting ocean shipping.
According to figures from train operator China Railway Shanghai Group, the number of freight trains running between Yiwu in Zhejiang Province and Madrid in Spain leapt 72% in the first five months of 2020 compared to the same period last year. The 13,052 km long major China – Europe freight train route has seen almost 200 trains carrying 16,672 twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) containers until the end of May.
A total of 93,000 TEUs container freight were transported between China and Europe in May alone, a year-on-year increase of 48%. The number of outbound freight trains from China to Europe in the month of May totalled to 556 and carried 50,000 TEUs, representing year-on-year increase of 47% and 52%. Similarly, the number of inbound trains from Europe to China during last month rose to 477 and carried 43,000 TEUs, up 39% and 44% year-on-year respectively.
State-owned China Railway (CR) operated 1033 freight trains in May in the China – Europe route, a 43% upsurge compared to the same period last year. For the first time 1000 such trains have operated in a single month.