The Current Status and Challenges of China Railway Express (CRE) as a Key Sustainability Policy Component of the Belt and Road Initiative
2. Literature Review
3. CRE-Related Policies and Operation Status
3.1. The Relationship between the BRI and China Railway
3.2. CRE Policies under the BRI
3.3. Operation Status of CRE Borders
3.4. The CRE Operation Status by Routes
4. Challenges for Sustainable CRE Development
4.1. Resolving Cargo Concentration and Bottlenecks at CRE Borders
4.2. Alleviating Competition and Subsidies between Local Governments
4.3. Expanding CRE Demand and Balancing Round-Trip CRE Cargoes
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Beginning (active exploration)||2011||19 March||The CRE commences operation from Chongqing in China to Duisburg in Germany (16 days).|
|2012||1 August||The “Yuxinou (Chongqing–Europe route)” seminar focuses on facilitating customs clearance, with the participation of eight countries.|
China, Russia and Germany reach consensus on further simplifying the customs clearance process and implementing the principle of mutual supervision.
|24 October||The Wuhan–Czech corridor pilot operation.|
|Building and expansion||2013||18 March||The first return test train of “Yuxinou” from Duisburg to Chongqing.|
|2014||29 March||Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the port of Duisburg to observe the arrival of the Chongqing-Duisburg CREs.|
|14 August||The first CRE coordination meeting held in Chongqing, discussing how to unify brand logo, transport organization, wholesale pricing, service standard, management team, and coordination platform.|
Promulgated the “Interim Measures for CRE Organization Management”, and signed the “Establishing CRE Domestic Transportation Coordination Meeting Memo”.
|18 November||The first “Yixinou (Yiwu–Europe route)” departs from Yiwu to Madrid, Spain.|
|2015||28 March||The Chinese government issues “Vision and Actions for Promoting the Joint Construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road” which calls for the establishment of a CRE railway transport corridors, port customs clearance coordination mechanism, and transportation channels that connect domestic and foreign countries.|
|Active development||2016||14 April||New route departs from Dongguan, passing through Manzhouli, Russia, Belarus, and Poland, and arriving in Duisburg, Germany (13,000 km, the longest CRE in China).|
|15 April||CRE operating companies in Xinjiang, Chongqing, Zhengzhou and other cities established the China–Europe international freight transportation CRE alliance in Urumuchi.|
The “Xinjiang Declaration” unifies CRE operating mechanism and optimizes the transportation organization and spatial layout of the CRE.
|8 June||Unified CRE brand officially launched.|
President Xi Jinping and Polish President Duda attend the ceremony for the CRE’s first arrival in Poland.
|8 October||Release of “CRE Construction and Development Plan (2016–2020)” under the BRI.|
|2017||20 April||Seven countries, including China, Belarus, Germany, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Poland and Russia, sign the “Regarding deepening the CRE Cooperation Agreement”.|
|1 May||Transport document form unified with Germany, France, and other countries|
|26 May||The CRE transport coordination committee established with seven CRE platform companies in Chongqing, Chengdu, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, and other regions.|
The international multimodal transport information platform and the CRE refrigerated container information-sharing platform are established.
|18 November||The total number of CRE operation exceeds 6000.|
|20 December||CRE trial from Chengdu to Tilburg in the southern Netherlands via Urumuchi.|
|2018||15–16 October||The NDRC holds the CRE meeting in Chongqing to make improvements in the CRE mechanism and enact new rules and laws.|
|Stable improvement||2019||22 April||“The Belt and Road Initiative: Progress, Contribution and Prospects” is announced, emphasizing the role of the CRE in promoting multi-country cooperation as an international train operation mechanism.|
By the end of 2018, CRE connects 108 cities in 16 countries on the Eurasian continent.
The number of the CRE operation exceeds 13,000, transporting more than 1.1 million TEUs.
Customs clearance time reduced by 50% as a result of customs clearance agreements with the BRI countries.
|2020||8 March||The NDRC announces round trip rate of over 90%.|
|3 April||The MOFCOM issues the “Notice on Further Utilizing the Role of the CRE to respond to the COVID-19 and Stabilizing Foreign Investment Promotion Fees”, proposing 11 specific measures and work requirements.|
|14 April||CRE (Wuhan) X8015 arrives at the Duisburg in Germany under above measures.|
|5 June||CHINA RAILWAY announces that in May this year, the number of the CRE operation have exceeded 1033, increasing 43% over the previous year.|
The transported cargoes reaches 93,000 TEUs, increasing 48% over the previous year.
|8 November||The X8020, jointly organized by CRE platform companies in Yiwu, Chongqing, Zhengzhou, Xi’an, and other cities, begins first cross-border e-commerce CRE from Yiwu to Brussels.|
|Routes||Corridors||Main Railway Border||Main Supply Regions|
|Eastern||Beijing–Harbin–Manzhouli–Russia–Belarus–Poland–other European countries||Manzhouli||East China, South China and North China|
|Central||Erenhot–Mongolia–Russia–Belarus–Poland–other European countries||Erenhot||Central China and North China|
|Western||Alashankou (Khorgos)–Kazakhstan–Russia–Belarus–Poland–other European countries||Alashankou Khorgos||Southwest, Northwest|
|Railway Border||2018 (1–11)||Cumulative Total|
|Year||Classification||Export and Import||Total||Year||Classification||Export and Import||Total|
|2011||# of operations||17 outbound||17||2016||# of operations||1130 out||1702|
|0 inbound||572 in|
|# of Containers||0.14 out||0.14||# of Containers||9.7 out||14|
|0 in||4.3 in|
|2012||# of operations||42 out||42||2017||# of operations||2399 out||3673|
|0 in||1274 in|
|# of Containers||0.37 out||0.37||# of Containers||21.2 out||31.8|
|0 in||10.6 in|
|2013||# of operations||80 out||80||2018||# of operations||3696 out||6363|
|0 in||2667 in|
|# of Containers||0.70 out||0.70||# of Containers||31.9 out||54.2|
|0 in||22.3 in|
|2014||# of operations||280 out||308||2019||# of operations||4525 out||8225|
|28 in||3700 in|
|# of Containers||2.39 out||2.62||# of Containers||40.2 out||72.5|
|0.23 in||32.3 in|
|2015||# of operations||550 out||815|
|# of Containers||4.7 out||6.9|
|CRE Name||Main Cargoes||Round Trip (Between China and Europe)||Corridors||Distance and Time||Departure Time||Cargo Collection|
|Xiangou (Changsha–Europe)||IT products, textiles, ceramics, tea, construction machinery, medical instruments||Outbound||Changsha–Erenhot–Warsaw–Hamburg||11,808 km/13–15 days||Every Saturday||Cargo collection on average 3 days before round trip|
|Zhengou (Zhengzhou–Europe)||IT products, clothing, auto accessories, construction machinery, medical instruments||Outbound||Zhengzhou–Alashankou– Kazakhstan–Russia–Belarus–Poland (Marasevic Station)–Hamburg||10,461 km/13 days||Every Monday–Saturday||Cargo collection on average 3 days before round trip|
|Inbound||① Hamburg–Marasevic–Alashankou–Zhengzhou||Every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday|
|② Hamburg–Marasevic–Erenhot–Zhengzhou||Every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday|
|Yixinou (Yiwu–Europe)||Bags, stationery, art and crafts, daily necessities||Outbound||Yiwu–Alashankou–Marasevic–Duisburg–Madrid||13,052 km/21 days||Every Wednesday||Cargo collection on average 2 days before round trip|
Transshipment at the French and Spanish border
|Hanou (Wuhan–Europe)||IT products, machinery, chemical products||Outbound||① Wuhan–Arasankou–Marasevic–Duisburg||10,880 km/15 days||Every Wednesday||Cargo collection on average 6 days before round trip|
|② Wuhan–Alashankou–Marasevic–Hamburg||Every Friday||Cargo collection on average 4 days before round trip|
|Outbound||Duisburg–Marasevic–Alashankou–Wuhan||Odd Week: Friday Even-numbered weeks: Friday, Saturday||Cargo collection on average 5 days before round trip|
|Rongou (Chengdu–Europe)||IT products, food, daily necessities, auto parts||Outbound||① Chengdu–Alashankou–Lodz||9826 km/14 days||Every Thursday and Saturday||Cargo collection on average 3 days before round trip|
|② Chengdu–Alashankou–Lodz–Nürnberg||Every Wednesday|
|③ Chengdu–Alashankou–Lodz–Tillberg (Netherlands)||Every Wednesday|
|Inbound||① Tilberg–Lodz–Alashankou–Chengdu||Every Tuesday|
|Yuxinou (Chongqing–Europe)||IT products, auto parts||Outbound||Chongqing–Alashankou–Marasevic–Duisburg||11,000 km/14–15 days||Every Monday, Thursday, Saturday||Cargo collection on average 3 days before round trip|
|Inbound||① Duisburg–Marasevic–Alashankou–Chongqing||Every Monday, Thursday, Saturday|
|② Duisburg–Marasevic–Erenhot–Chongqing||Every Friday|
|Major City (Node)||2011–2013||2014||2015||2016||2017||2018|
|Total distance (Km)||11,179||9826||10,214||10,100||11,200|
|Chinese broad-gauge distance (Km)||4137||3511||3422||2918||3256|
|European broad-gauge distance (Km)||5692||5692||5692||5692||7739|
|European standard-gauge distance (Km)||1350||623||1100||1490||205|
|Chinese freight cost, USD/FEU·km (standard gauge)||0.6||0.6||0.6||0.6||0.6|
|Foreign freight cost, USD/FEU·km (broad-gauge)||0.694||0.694||0.694||0.694||0.413|
|Foreign freight cost, USD/FEU·km (standard gauge)||0.704||2.73||0.864||1.713||3.415|
|(un) Loading cost, (USD/FEU)||1000||1000||1000||1000||1000|
|Freight forwarding cost (USD/FEU)||1800||1800||1500||1800||1500|
|Subsidies a (USD/FEU)||6400||7000||7400||5600||1000|
|Freight costs (USD/FEU)||10,182.85||10,557.64||9453.85||11,053.42||8349.88|
|Freight costs (considering subsidies) (USD/FEU)||3782.85||3557.64||2053.85||5453.42||7349.88|
|Freight costs (balanced cargo flow), (USD/FEU)||7721.9||7971.76||7135.9||8302.28||6399.92|
|Freight costs (balanced cargo flow considering subsidies), (USD/FEU)||1321.9||971.76||2135.9||2702.28||5399.92|
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Choi, K.-S. The Current Status and Challenges of China Railway Express (CRE) as a Key Sustainability Policy Component of the Belt and Road Initiative. Sustainability 2021, 13, 5017. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095017
Choi K-S. The Current Status and Challenges of China Railway Express (CRE) as a Key Sustainability Policy Component of the Belt and Road Initiative. Sustainability. 2021; 13(9):5017. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095017Chicago/Turabian Style
Choi, Kyoung-Suk. 2021. "The Current Status and Challenges of China Railway Express (CRE) as a Key Sustainability Policy Component of the Belt and Road Initiative" Sustainability 13, no. 9: 5017. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095017