It is an important step taken by Shaanxi Province and Xi'an City to open the China Railway Express (CRE) Chang'an international freight train, which helps to fulfill the strategic concept of jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and create a new starting point for its construction. The action aims to promote economic cooperation and exchanges between Eurasian countries, build a golden corridor and drive economic prosperity along the Silk Road Economic Belt, and accelerate Shaanxi's construction of an open economy and Xi'an's development towards an international metropolis.
Since November 28, 2013, when Shaanxi Province opened the first CRE Chang'an international freight train (Xi'an-Kazakhstan), routes of CRE Chang'an from Xi'an to five Central Asian countries, Budapest, Warsaw, Hamburg, Moscow, and other countries and regions have successively been opened.
Among them, CRE trains (Xi'an-Hamburg) with a whole course taking 16 to 18 days is the golden route of CRE Chang'an. CRE trains (Xi'an-Budapest) and CRE trains (Xi'an-Kouvola) with a whole course taking 15 and 13 days respectively are two classic routes of CRE Chang'an. At present, all routes have been operated regularly. After arriving in Europe, the goods transported by CRE trains will be distributed to major cities in the hinterland of Europe through node cities, such as Malaszewicze and Warsaw in Poland, and Hamburg and Duisburg in Germany, able to reach almost all regions in Europe.
As a member unit initiating the CRE Transport Coordination Committee, Xi’an International Inland Port Multimodal Transportation Co., Ltd., founded in October 2016, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Xi'an International Inland Port Bonded Logistics Investment and Construction Co., Ltd. affiliated to Xi'an International Land Port Investment & Development Group Co., Ltd. (ITL Group). Focusing on the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, the company has built a major logistics channel connecting Central Asia and able to reach the hinterland of Europe and has accelerated the fulfillment of the tasks and requirements proposed by ITL Group and Xi'an International Inland Port Bonded Logistics Investment and Construction Co., Ltd. on the construction of international trade and logistics channels.
From January to May 2019, a total of 623 CRE Chang'an trains had been sent, 1.53 times that of the same period in 2018, with a heavy load rate of 100%. The value of imports and exports reaching about USD 2.36 billion, 1.93 times that of the same period in 2018. In the first three quarters of 2018, the value of imports and exports transported by CRE Chang'an trains reached USD 1.31 billion, up 7.9 times compared with the same period in 2018, 6.9 times the total value of 2017; the freight volume reached 518,000 tons, up 8.7 times compared with the same period in 2018, 8 times the total volume of 2017; a total of 913 trains had been sent, 4.7 times that of 2017.
The increase in the transport capability of the CRE Chang'an trains has effectively driven the rapid growth of trade between Shaanxi and Central Asia. In the first three quarters of 2018, Shaanxi's trade volume with Central Asia reached RMB 760 million, up 71.2% year on year. Among them, exports totaled RMB 640 million and imports totaled RMB 120 million, up 88.1% and 15.1% year on year respectively. Xi'an Customs District P.R.China has taken active measures to continuously reduce the overall customs clearance time of the CRE Chang'an trains. In the first three quarters of 2018, the customs clearance time for imports transported by CRE Chang'an trains decreased by 61.4%, and that for exports decreased by 21.8%. In the first three quarters of 2018, Xi'an Customs applied to the port customs for the implementation of "manifest merging" 18 times, reducing the original 484 shipping bills to 23 shipping bills and lowering the amount of customs declaration and customs clearance fees by 95.2%.