Unloaded containers are seen at a rail yard in the suburb of Madrid, Spain, Sept. 18, 2017. The Yiwu-Madrid freight route linking Zhejiang's Yiwu, the world's largest wholesale market for small consumer goods, with the European commodity center of Madrid by way of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region was launched in November of 2014. (Xinhua/Guo Qiuda)
The number of China-Europe freight trains reached a new annual record this year since starting operations in 2011, indicating closer economic ties between the two major markets.
More than 3,000 cargo trains have traveled on 57 lines between cities on the two continents, surpassing the past six years combined, and pushing the aggregate to over 6,000, China Railway Corporation (CRC) said Saturday.
"The trend is solid," CRC said in a statement, adding that a coordination committee was established in May to further bring down logistics costs and improve efficiency.
The cargo service has been growing rapidly, now bridging 35 Chinese cities, including Xi'an and Yiwu, and 34 European cities such as Hamburg and Madrid. It is considered a significant part of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Europe is China's largest trading partner. Trade between the two sides increased 16.2 percent year on year to 3.4 trillion yuan (513 billion U.S. dollars) in the first 10 months.