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Decoding the Basis Supporting CR Express’s Rapid Growth amid the Slumping Trend——an exclusive interview with Zhang Jiyi, NPC Deputy
Date: July 3,2020   

Source: Published on People’s Railway Daily on May 26 of 2020 (also on www.peoplerail.com dated May 26 of 2020,08:40 )

On the afternoon of May 22, 2020, President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, joined and addressed on the deliberation of the Inner Mongolia panel at the Third Session of the 13th National People’s Congress. “On hearing the general secretary’s speech on the meeting site, I’m again deeply impressed by his governance concept of putting people at the first place and his deep feelings for the people from the persistency in sharing the fruits of reform and development with the people.” When interviewed  on the evening after the panel meeting, Zhang Jiyi, NPC deputy from Inner Mongolia and Secretary of Party Committee, Chairman of CRCT, was still in excitement. “At present, under the considerable impact of the epidemic on China’s economic and social development, we shall be proactive in our works coping with the epidemic and our moves initiating development, in order to make more contributions to railway reform and development”, he remarked.

Ever since the outbreak of COVID-19 epidemic, CR Express,or China-Europe block train service, which realized rapid growth in outbound volumes of both trains and cargoes with its unique advantages, has contributed Chinese solutions to stabilizing international supply chains, supporting the combat against the global COVID-19 epidemic and facilitating the Belt and Road initiative with quality. Behind the eye-catching achievements, what are the basis supporting the rapid growth of CR Express? What are the unique advantages of the service? And what opportunities and challenges would it be faced with? Zhang Jiyi answered these questions in the interview.

“President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of CPC, specified important instructions to CR Express service on many occasions. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have attached great importance to support the development of CR Express service. A series of policies and measures were introduced by relevant ministries and local governments, injecting strong impetus to the development of CR Express.” Mr. Zhang introduced. After China pressed the “fast-forward button” for work and production resumption, its transport demands were rapidly resumed. Essential Measures on Promoting CR Express in 2020 were formulated and issued, based on rounds of researches and discussions on the organization of China-Europe block train operation held by CR leaders. Thanks to the joint efforts by different units including relevant departments of CR, CRCT, railway bureau groups at ports, etc., a strong basis supporting the development of CR Express service was formed.

While strictly enforcing all measures combating the epidemic, CRCT has strengthened coordination efforts and established green channels for short barge services in terminals to ensure stable cargo source; mobilized overseas subsidiaries to enhance cargo sourcing for returning block trains and obtained first-hand cargoes; organized 4 high-quality China-Russia block trains targeting at high value-added cargoes, and reduced transport duration time by 5 to 7 days in average; improved customer service and published monthly indicators of service quality evaluation to guide all the service participants to improve their service quality. The average number of train cars was increased to 45 from 43 in the same period of last year, with 10% up for proportion of loaded containers.

Due to the fast spread of COVID-19 pandemic overseas, most European terminals have implemented strict control measures, which hindered their operational efficiency. Though being faced with difficulties, CRCT was enhancing its efforts in seeking opportunities amid challenges. Mr. Zhang Jiyi expressed that CRCT would focus on the following aspects: first, enhancing coordination efforts; second, strengthening organization of block trains; third, improving block train service quality with continuous efforts; fourth, enhancing marketing practices.

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