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Haikou Jiangdong New Area
Facility Connectivity

Spotlight: Rail freight assists Poland in fighting COVID-19 pandemic

July 06, 2020


Abstract : Seaport closure and a dramatic surge in air freight fare due to the COVID-19 pandemic had impeded Poland's international logistics. When the country was struggling in the ordeal, China Railway Express (CR Express) ramped up its capacities to deliver the much-needed medical and industrial supplies.

Photo: A China-Europe freight train carrying medical supplies departs from the city of Yiwu, east China's Zhejiang Province, June 5, 2020. (Photo by Lyu Bin/Xinhua)

Since the start of the pandemic in Europe, CR Express has been dedicated to transporting medical supplies from China to hard-hit European countries, supplementing cargo planes chartered by the Polish government. "CR Express really performed an indispensable role in combating the coronavirus," said Marcin Sidorowicz, director of intermodal transport at SPEDCONT, a partner of CR Express in Poland.

WARSAW, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Seaport closure and a dramatic surge in air freight fare due to the COVID-19 pandemic had impeded Poland's international logistics. When the country was struggling in the ordeal, China Railway Express (CR Express) ramped up its capacities to deliver the much-needed medical and industrial supplies.

ASSISTING IN COMBATING PANDEMIC

Like many other industries, Poland's international transport was heavily hit by the coronavirus outbreak, when it was needed more than ever as the country desperately sought medical supplies for the health care system to fight the unprecedented pandemic.

As shipping by air and sea became either too expensive or too slow, CR Express - the freight trains connecting China and the then epicenter Europe - came to the fore bucking the trend.

"We saw a year-on-year increase of around 30 percent for the month of April for containers transported by rail from Chengdu to our terminal in Lodz, a city in central Poland," Marcin Sidorowicz, director of intermodal transport at SPEDCONT, a partner of CR Express in Poland.

As one of the most vibrant operations of CR Express, Chengdu-Europe Express Rail has seen a constant rise in demand since its launch in 2013. According to Sidorowicz, currently six forty-wagon trains shuttle between Chengdu, southwest China and Lodz on a weekly basis, with a total capacity of more than 6,600 tons.

Since the start of the pandemic in Europe, CR Express has been dedicated to transporting medical supplies from China to hard-hit European countries, supplementing cargo planes chartered by the Polish government. "CR Express really performed an indispensable role in combating the coronavirus," Sidorowicz told Xinhua.

FACILITATING PRODUCTION

When the pandemic was ravaging the central eastern European country, its manufacturing industry scrambled to source key materials to keep factories running.

TCL, one of the world's leading consumer electronics manufacturers, started investing in Poland more than a decade ago. In the assembling plants near Warsaw, the Chinese electronics giant produces mainly LED TVs for the European market, using parts made in China and shipped by CR Express.

"TCL has been benefiting from the implementation of the 'Belt and Road Initiative,' especially the stable operation of CR Express," said Liu Zhongyi, finance director of TCL's Poland plant, adding that it used to take 38 days for shipping by sea, now it's only a fortnight thanks to CR Express.

Since the TCL express, a special freight train for TCL, was inaugurated in March 2016, TCL's Chengdu plant has seen an annual increase of 30 percent in export quantity and revenue. Despite the pandemic, the plant tripled its export in the first quarter of 2020, compared with the same period of the previous year.

Due to the chaos caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, TCL's Poland plant suspended production for a week. Local employees had been concerned over their jobs at the beginning, but soon felt relieved.

"China contained the outbreak successfully and rapidly, so we could replenish essential spare parts and resume production," Liu told Xinhua.

China and the European Union have vowed to work hand in hand to revive the economy in the post-pandemic period. "CR Express could play an even more important role to that effect," Liu noted.■

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Keyword: China-Europe freight trains China-Poland

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Roundup: Yiwu-Madrid express links China, EU during pandemic

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