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Shrinking rail freight signals economic problems for China

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The trans-Eurasian railway route linking theindustrial metropolis of Chongqing, southwest China, with Duisburg, Germany, has been operating as a key infrastructure component of China’s “New Silk Road” trade expansion strategy.

But the modern version of the legendary Silk Road trading route is now providing additional evidence of China’s increasing economic woes.

The number of trains has increased since the beginning of this year. Currently, one freight train per day carries products like laptops, printers and auto parts via a series of transnational railway tracks stretching over 11,000km across six countries including also Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Poland.

But growth of freight volume transported through the rail network, which opened in 2011, is falling back, in line with economic slowdowns in both China and Europe.