The Silk Railroad of China-Europe Trade

Companies deep in China lean on railroads to ship to Europe
A freight train crossing from Russia to Manzhouli in China Photograph by ImagineChina

Multinationals operating in China have been setting up factories deep in the interior in search of affordable labor. The drawback: These plants can be more than a thousand kilometers (621 miles) from the coast. For companies exporting to Europe—still one of the largest markets for Chinese goods—shipping by air from Chongqing or other inland cities is too expensive. Trucking or carrying goods by train to the ports of Shanghai or Shenzhen’s Yantian and then shipping them to Western Europe can take 40 days.

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