Building Budapest into one of the largest logistics centres in eastern Europe is a shared goal of Nemeth Miklos Ivan, consul of Hungary in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality, and Qi Dan.
Qi is the head of Yuxinou (Chongqing) Logistics Co., Ltd, who explored the rail route between Chongqing and Duisburg in Germany in 2011, the start of the China-Europe cargo train service.
Chongqing, as an important location of China’s western development strategy, is situated on the “connecting point” of the Belt and Road and the Yangtze River Economic Belt, playing a unique role in China’s regional development and opening up.
It is connected to the eastern seaboard thanks to the Yangtze, China’s longest river, making it a transfer hub for commodities from the western areas to be sold across the world and for goods from around the globe to reach China’s far west.
Boosted by the Belt and Road construction, the international train service has been expanding fast in the city over the past eight years.
The service of Yuxinou now takes about 12 days from Chongqing to Europe, about one-third of the traditional ocean shipping time. A total of 1,442 freight trains traveled between Chongqing and European countries last year, compared with only 100 in 2014.
“Yuxinou has made China and European countries closer with shorter freight transportation time and stronger cash flow,” said Hungarian businessman Akos Kovacs.
“If we build a distribution centre in Budapest, commodities from the Chinese market can also reach to six other countries including the Czech Republic and Romania, and vice versa,” Kovacs said.
Southeast Asian countries also enjoy the dividends of the China-Europe freight trains, especially after Chongqing launched the China-Singapore rail-sea transit route in 2017.
The New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor is a trade and logistics passage under the framework of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity.
With Chongqing as the transportation hub, the new corridor uses ports in Guangxi’s Beibu Gulf to reach ports in Singapore and other ASEAN countries and links China-Europe freight trains launched from many western Chinese cities before heading for Central Asia, South Asia and Europe.
By the end of last year, freight trains had made 805 trips via the corridor, which links 155 ports in 71 countries and regions worldwide.
Besides Chongqing, a total of 48 Chinese cities have launched 65 cargo train routes, reaching 14 countries and more than 40 cities in Europe in 2018. Over 13,000 trips have been conducted by the China-Europe trains as of February.
Freight transportation is an epitome of a faster world driven by China-proposed Belt and Road construction.
As companies in China and Belt and Road countries seek better partners and turn to the Internet for new retail markets, cross-border e-commerce platforms, like Osell, are mushrooming to meet their needs.
So far, Osell has set up local service offices and experience centres in cities including Moscow, Warsaw and Dubai to expand their bridge connecting China and the world.
“We aim to promote the successful e-commerce experience of Chinese companies to countries along the Belt and Road, help companies look for opportunities and realise cooperation,” said Zhu Fuxing, vice president of Osell Group.