A New Railway Supply Chain pact was signed by Officials in Southwest China’s Chengdu City on Monday, and is expected to strengthen the city’s status as a transport hub under the Belt & Road Initiative.

International Railway Transportation Service providers, financial service providers and the operators of China-Europe Railway Express gathered together for the third “Chengdu-Eurasia” Global Partners Conference to explore boosting freight trade between Europe and China.

Since 2013, China-Europe freight trains have made over 6,000 trips through Chengdu, the capital city of southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

According to the agreement, the China-Europe Railway Express Supply Chain Alliance is being formed to promote cooperation for the operation of China-Europe freight trains.

In particular, over two-thirds of the freight originates from the province, and the city could play a more integral role by helping European countries to further utilize China-Europe freight trains to boost exports to China.

“We would like to use these facilities of rail connections to highlight and to increase exports of the Slovak goods, Slovak agricultural products, and car industries including some other commodities from electrical areas to China.

Usually, there are more trains. More trains going from China to Europe. So there will be less trains going from Europe to China. And our intention is to make a value and to increase the number of trains going from Europe to China,” said Martina Mihalova, a Commercial Counselor of the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in China.

In addition, Chengdu also has an advantageous position as a transferring station between Europe and Southeast Asia.

“Chengdu has several advantages in the Southeastern Asian direction of the New Western Land-sea Corridor. The first advantage is speed. If China-Europe freight trains start from Chengdu, they can reach Pingxiang City and Qinzhou City of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region faster. The former is a land port and the latter is a seaport,” said Zhai Kun, the deputy director of the Institute of Area Studies at Peking University.

The Opportunities provided by the hub could be further strengthened as the China-Laos Railway is scheduled to be put into operation next year.

When the two projects are finished, freight trains from Chengdu can reach the capital of Laos in three days, boosting trade and the movement of goods.