China Railway Express (CR Express) represents internationally joint railway transport services including container transport based on fixed train numbers and lines, schedules and whole-course operation hours between China and Europe and other BRI countries. In recent years, with the implementation of the BRI, CR Express has been accepted by the clients in China and Europe due to its comparative advantages in time, price, capacity and security and has become the third logistic mode between China and Europe in addition to maritime and air transport services.
Currently, three main corridors, namely west corridor, east corridor and middle corridor, between China and Europe have taken shape. The western corridor mainly focuses on import and export goods in the southwestern and northwestern China, central China, North China and East China. It passes through Lianyungang-Lanzhou Line and Lanzhou-Xinjiang Line and connects railways of Kazakhstan and Russia at Alataw Pass (Khorgas) Railway Port of Xinjiang, and then it further goes to the railways in Belarus and Poland and extends to other European countries. The central corridor mainly focuses on import and export goods in Central China and North China. It passes through Beijing-Guangzhou Line, Beijing-Baotou Line and Jining-Erlianhaote Line and connects railways of Mongolia and Russia at Erlianhaote Railway Port of Mongolia, and then it further goes to the railways in Belarus and Poland and extends to other European countries. The eastern corridor mainly focuses on import and export goods in East China, South China and Northeast China. It passes through Beijing-Shanghai Line, Beijing-Harbin Line and Harbin-Manzhouli line and connects Russian railway at Manzhouli Railway Port of Inner Mongolia, and then it further goes to railways in Belarus and Poland and extends to other European countries.
At the advocacy and promotion of China railway, the Agreement on Deepening CR Express Cooperation between China, Belarus, Germany, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Poland and Russia was officially signed in April 2017, the first agreement reached between China railway and railway authorities of BRI countries on CR Express cooperation, which has been included in the achievement list of the first “Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation”. By October 2018, CR Express had reached 53 Chinese cities and 45 cities in 15 European countries, with total number of trains in operation exceeding 11,000. These trains bring China-made cell phones, computers, articles of daily use and other goods to Europe and also bring back China Spanish wines and hams, German cars and beers, Polish baby foods, Finnish paper pulps, Russian wood plates and Kazakhstan wheat, etc. Now, two of three fully-loaded CR Express trains could return fully loaded with cargos. Known as the “iron camel team”, the CR Express is building a bridge between China and BRI countries for commodity circulation, market transaction, trade exchange and infrastructure construction.