First, constantly expanding operation scale. After years of market cultivation, CRE trains have achieved normalized and scale operation. Especially since the CRE trains brand was established in 2016, CHINA RAILWAY focuses on improving safeguard mechanism for CRE trains and transport capacity of port stations and building CRE train assembly centers, resulting to continuous development of the CRE trains in terms of their operation number, goods category and value. CHINA RAILWAY has initiated two coordination mechanisms, the "Joint Working Group on Transport of CRE Trains with Major Railways in Seven Countries", an international organization, and the "CRE Train Transport Coordinating Committee", a domestic one including 57 enterprises and 5 research institutions. A series of CRE train transport cooperation initiatives regarding traffic organization and marketing and cooperation in digitalization have been concluded. A number of documents and files have been established, e.g., Treaty on high-quality development of CRE trains and quality index evaluation system. All of the above initiatives have guaranteed high-quality operation of CRE trains; capacity expansion and upgrading projects for port stations such as Horgos, Alataw Pass, Erenhot and Manzhouli are launched successively, effectively improving transport capacity of ports and corridors in these "bottleneck" sections; demonstration projects of building CRE trains assembly centers have been initiated in Zhengzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Xi'an and Urumqi, and seven first-class railway logistics bases have been built, accounting for about 60% of transport capacity of CRE trains. From 2016 to 2021, the number of CRE trains were increased from 1,702 to 15,183, an average annual growth rate of 55%; the goods category has expanded from IT products such as mobile phones and laptops, to more than 50,000 kinds, such as vehicle accessories and complete vehicles, chemicals, E&M products, grains, alcohols and timbers; the annual transport value increased from 8 billion US dollars to 74.9 billion US dollars, with a nine-fold increase, and its proportion in the China-Europe gross trade volume increased from 1.5% to 8%.
Second, steadily enhancing operation quality. CHINA RAILWAY has given full play to the international and domestic coordination mechanisms a platform enterprise and continuously strengthened freight traffic source organization at home and abroad. The overall proportion of fully loaded containers of CRE trains achieved steady growth, increasing from 77.2% in 2016 to 98.1% in 2021. By further exploiting the source of freight for return trips, the ratio of inbound to outbound trips of CRE trains has been balanced more, and the ratio of return CRE trains to departure CRE trains has increased from 50.6% in 2016 to 81.5% in 2021. The 95306 digital port system developed and put into service has significantly improved the customs clearance efficiency. The gathering and combination organization mode (three trains combined to two trains) has been normalized at Manzhouli and Horgos port stations, to coordinate and solve issues such as transport organization in broad-gauge sections, making the whole journey shorten to 12 days from 24 days, with transport efficiency being greatly improved and logistics costs greatly decreased compared with other logistics modes, leading to a decrease in social logistics costs as well. Constant efforts have been made to improve the security of CRE trains operation by promoting the use of electronic locks with position tracking and break-lock alarm functions. Customer Service Center of CRE Trains has been established, further standardizing the application and management of the CRE train trademark and continuously improving the service level, thus promoting the competitiveness and credibility of CRE trains as a brand.
Third, giving full play to the role of strategic corridors. In addition to consolidating and stabilizing the existing main corridors to Europe, CHINA RAILWAY has explored and opened new corridors and routes across the Caspian Sea, the Baltic Sea and countries like Ukraine, Finland, and promoted the establishment of the new overseas corridor network pattern of CRE trains featured by "connectivity, high efficiency, multi-directional extension, and sea-land multimodal transport". Especially since 2020, in the face of the global epidemic impact on the international logistics supply chain, CHINA RAILWAY has introduced special operation methods for port handover to keep the safe and smooth operation of CRE trains and has taken the initiative in transporting the goods transferred from the sea and air, giving full play to the role of the strategic corridors. Priority has been given to the transport of international anti-epidemic supplies in the aspects of consignment, loading, coupling, and transport, making best efforts to ensure quick loading and transport and to transport all such supplies upon receiving. CRE trains have carried 13.62 million pieces of anti-epidemic supplies totally, exceeding 100,000 tons, to European countries such as Germany, Poland, and Belgium, which has become the "Life Passage" and "Bond of Destiny" for countries to work together to fight against the pandemic.
Fourth, increasingly prominent leading roles in boosting reginal development. The rapid development of CRE trains has strongly promoted the opening up of inland cities in China, and some non-seaside non-coastal cities have gradually developed into economies with a new height of opening-up. CRE trains have greatly promoted the industrial development of IT, automobile and cross-border e-commerce in Chongqing and the rapid growth of entrepot trade, provided strong support for the establishment of Chengdu Import and Export Commodity Trading Center and Zhengzhou Modern International Logistics Center, and accelerated Yiwu's transformation and upgrading from "the largest small commodity wholesale market in the world" to "a global commodity trade center". While continuously transporting Chinese high-quality goods to countries along the routes, CRE trains have also spawned many new logistics, industry, business centers and industrial parks, offering thousands of employment opportunities for local people. Duisburg Port in Germany has attracted hundreds of logistics enterprises to settle down and created more than 20,000 employment opportunities. The business volume of Malaszewicze port station in Poland has more than doubled thanks to the opening of CRE trains, greatly promoting the local economic and social development.
The official said that as China's economy continues to improve steadily and China-Europe trade continues to grow, the demand for CRE transport would remain high in the future. CHINA RAILWAY will continue to give full play to its industrial and professional advantages, continuously innovate and improve the service level, continue to strengthen the brand building, and make new contributions to providing strong support for the international industrial chain and supply chain and promoting high-quality development of "Belt and Road Initiative".