Volvo Cars is the first car maker in the world to export cars, built at its Daqing plant in Chinato, to Europe by train.
The first cars, S90 premium saloons, will be transported from Daqing plant to a distribution centre in Zeebrugge, Belgium via the new China-Europe railway connection. The recently opened link will cut travel times of transported goods by two thirds compared with the naval route.
The railway link was set up within the so-called 'One Belt, One Road' initiative that pays homage to the age-old Silk Road trade route between China and Europe, now being revamped for the modern age.
Each of the trains connecting Daqing and Zeebrugge will transport around 225 Volvo cars, stored in custom-designed containers. Per container, three cars will be loaded at different angles in order to maximise the use of space. At first, trains will depart from Daqing once every week, but with time that will change. With growing volumes of produced cars and orders, the frequency of transport will also increase.
Next to shorter traveling times when it comes to Chinese goods being delivered to Europe (and vice versa), the railway link is also the environmentally friendlier option – traveling the same distance by train, the CO2 emissions per tonne/km are reduced by a third compared to transporting goods by ship.