2017-07-24 14:55:44 Source: China Daily
The first freight train between Prague and Yiwu, the famouscommodity distribution hub in China's Zhejiang province, left the capital ofthe Czech Republic on July 19.
The inauguration of the freight link has been hailed by bothCzech President Milos Zeman and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka as anotherimportant milestone in bilateral cooperation under the framework of the Beltand Road Initiative. They hailed the project on Tuesday at the annual ChinaInvestment Forum, where Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of thePolitical Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, delivered a keynote speech.
Officials from Yiwu say the landlocked Czech Republic has greatlinks to European countries all around it.
"The Czech Republic has its special geographic advantage,and within 1,000 kilometers, nearly the whole of Europe is covered," saidLin Yi, the mayor of Yiwu.
On Wednesday, Lin introduced a cooperation blueprint between hiscity and the Czech Republic in the presence of provincial governor Yuan Jiajunand Chinese Ambassador to the Czech Republic Ma Keqing.
Lin said his city aims to boost the frequency of the freighttrains.
"Ideally, we hope everyday there will be a train leavingrespectively from Prague and Yiwu for each other," Lin said.
Wednesday's train had more than 80 containers of crystal products,auto components, and beer. It will take 16 days to reach itsdestination."The duration is much shorter compared with shipping at sea,though the cost will be higher," said Lin. "Now, more and more autoproducers have started this way of transport, to distribute components inChina."
With support from the provincial government, Yiwu plans to builda huge logistics center in the Czech Republic. Lin said the project willgenerate about 3,000 jobs.
Zeman, a strong supporter of the Belt and Road Initiative, saidhe expects the freight express between Prague and Yiwu to boost the export ofCzech agricultural products.
Since the Belt and Road Initiative was launched in 2013, freighttrains have been running between many Chinese and European cities.
Before Yiwu explored the geographic importance of the CzechRepublic, some cities in Germany and Poland played a bigger role in theincreased freight movements.