China-Europe Freight Rail Services have expanded in the first eight months of the year with 5,266 trips made during the period, according to the China State Railway Group Co., Ltd.

The number of trips from China to Europe reached 2,845 with a total of 250,000 standard-sized shipping containers, while figures from Europe to China stood at 2,421 with 210,000 containers, data from the company showed.

As China-Europe freight trains are three times faster than shipping by sea and cost just one-fifth of air transportation, the service is widely favoured in the International Market, said an official with the company.

Since the debut of the China-Europe Freight Rail Service in 2011, the number of trips made between the two regions skyrocketed from 17 to 6,300 in 2018.

The China-Europe rail service is considered a significant part of the Belt & Road Initiative, and is expected to boost trade between China and Europe, China’s largest trading partner.