RailFreight.com — 2023-03-23
The city of Shenyang, in northeastern China, has deployed its first freight train to Europe in the context of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP). The plan is to turn Shenyang into a new transhipment hub for RCEP countries using the rail to ship to Europe. The new initiative will also offer a link between the China-Laos railway and the China-Europe network.
The first train loaded with good from RCEP countries departed Shenyang on 2023 March 18. As noted by Chinese medium Shenyang Daily, demand from RCEP countries for exports via China is gradually increasing, thus the need for a new hub. The goods transported from Shenyang are mainly daily necessities, chemical materials, and electronic products. The RCEP countries most involved in the rise in export demands are Japan, South Korea, Laos, and Myanmar, trading mainly with Russia, Kazakhstan, Poland, and Hungary.
In 2020, the RCEP agreement was formulated by 15 members including China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and ten ASEAN countries. The initiative came into effect on 2022 January 1. The agreement involves countries covering a surface larger than the European Union, making it currently the world’s largest free trade agreement as well as the most populous.
The new Shenyang China Railway Express Consolidation Centre
Moreover, the Shenyang China-Europe Railway Express Assembly Centre was put into use at the beginning of March to boost rail freight to and from Shenyang. The new facility covers an area of 92,000 square metres and will be able to handle 1,000 China-Europe freight trains each year. The first train departed from the new Assembly Centre on 2023 March 2023, heading north to exit China via the Manzhouli Terminal and reach its final destination in Russia. The goods gathered in Shenyang came from China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Japan, South Korea, and Laos. The goods from Southeast Asia reached Shenyang by combined sea-rail transportation. According to Liaoning Province, the convoy for this trip was made up of 55 TEUs.
This project, part of the China Railway Express, will be divided into two networks: one heading north towards Russia and one going west headed to Europe. For the line going to Europe, the main destinations from Shenyang are Hamburg, Duisburg, and Madrid, with Malaszewicze as the main rail border crossing to enter the Old Continent. The existing routes going to Russia from Shenyang pass through the border crossings in Suifenhe and Erlian, in the Chinese far-east, and the one in Manzhouli, in the northeast.