China-Europe freight trains unaffected by COVID-19 cluster in Khorgas port

China-Europe freight train operations are unaffected by a new cluster of COVID-19 cases at the port of Khorgas in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, an official said. Horgos Customs to the Global Times.

The outbreak has not affected road or rail transport through Khorgas Port, and China-Europe freight trains are running normally without any congestion, the official said.

Khorgas, a major port for China-Europe freight trains, has found itself in a new wave of COVID-19 cases. Six new confirmed cases and 16 asymptomatic cases were reported Monday in the city, according to the Xinjiang regional health commission.

The city has implemented containment measures in the places where confirmed and asymptomatic cases live and work.

In 2021, Khorgas Rail Port handled 7.381 million tons of freight, up 32.9 percent, and the number of China-Europe freight trains in service reached 6,362, up 26.6 percent year-on-year annual.

Shipping and logistics are still normal but slowed due to lockdown measures in the city, a Khorgas-based trader named Yang told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Xu Yuanyuan, director of Shaanxi Further Strategy Supply Chain Management Co, told the Global Times on Tuesday that new COVID-19 cases in Khorgas had so far had no impact on China-EU freight trains departing from the northwest China’s Shaanxi province, but stricter disinfection and inspection procedures may cause delays.

“Take the example of outbreaks discovered in Alashankou last year. The epidemic delayed a batch of our imported barley for two months at the port,” Xu said.

According to local customs data, the import and export volume through Khorgas Port exceeded 39.6 million tons in 2021, and the value exceeded 283.9 billion yuan ($44.7 billion), up 15.1% and 17% year-on-year.

More and more products made in China, including machinery, equipment and medical supplies from across the country, are exported to Central Asia and European markets through the port.

“We mainly trade 3c products, clothes and items for cross-border e-commerce platforms,” ​​Yang said.

Other rail operations via the China-Europe train remain smooth and stable. Travel time to Europe is about 25 to 30 days, a person working for a logistics company based in east China’s Shandong Province told the Global Times on Tuesday.

He added that it is difficult to get space on the trains due to the surge in demand, as the China-Europe freight train is a stable and efficient international logistics channel amid the pandemic. “You need to book at least 10 days in advance,” he said. .

In a further sign of growing activity for China-Europe freight trains, “the first China-Europe freight train” of 2022 operated for the China-SCO Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Zone has departed for capital Tashkent of Uzbekistan from Qingdao in east China’s Shandong Province on Tuesday, according to media reports.

It will leave China through the port of Alashankou and is expected to arrive in Tashkent in about six days. The train carries a total of 100 standard containers filled with mechanical and electrical products, tires and Tsingtao beer worth about $1.97 million.
Source: GlobalTimes

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