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China’s Silk Road powers on despite coronavirus

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China’s National Development and Reform Commission has said development of the China-Europe Railway Express (CR Express), a key part of the country’s New Silk Road, on schedule despite the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, the commission said 90% of those working on the CR Express had returned to work, and that freight service was almost back to pre-outbreak levels.

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By the end of February, services had increased by 6% year-on-year (YoY), with what the commission called a “high rate of loaded containers”.

During the height of the outbreak, the CR Express, according to the commission, remained normal, in particular from the major sea and logistics points it relies on.

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The CR Express is a network of 35 major routes which connect seaports and China’s landlocked regions to major sea lanes and western markets. In August 2019 China signed an agreement with DB Schenker to expand the CR Express and its link to the German inland port of Duisberg.

The commission now says it will look to expand the CR Express even further, including making cargo clearance more efficient and improving logistics connectivity.

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