But growth of freight volume transported through the Chongquing – Duisberg rail network, which opened in 2011, is losing steam, along with economic slowdowns in both China and Europe.
The volume of Europe-bound freight during the first three months of this year actually dropped from the previous year, mainly due to declining shipments of laptop exports to Europe.
The dip in freight on the route, reflects China’s struggle to upgrade its industrial structure amid the weakening of its once stupendous economic growth.
Currently, a freight train takes 13-14 days to travel the entire route from Chongqing to Duisburg. But the Deputy General director at the Chongqing branch of China United International Rail Containers, said a bypass to be completed in 2017 will shorten the journey to 12 days.
In 2015, a total of 156 journeys to Russia or Europe and 89 to Chongqing were operated. The number is expected to increase to 350-360 return trips in 2016, effectively a daily service, according to the city of Chongqing.
About half of the export freight bound for Europe is laptops and printers made in Chongqing.