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China to roll out new domestic and international railway operating plan


China to roll out new domestic and international railway operating plan

Photo: Reuters

China set to roll out new railway operating plan today.

The new plan, created by China Railway, improves the country’s passenger and freight transport efficiency. The plan will also improve service between China and Europe, with a daily average of 78 freight trains connecting 174 cities in 23 European countries, 5 more than the current level.

This move to further expand railway service to Europe is part of Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative. Critics of the multi-billion-dollar initiative oftentimes set aside their differences in order to accept new trade and a gateway to future cooperation with China.

In the short-term this new expansion of the railway system will boost Chinese exports to new destinations in Europe and bolster diplomatic ties with the West. However, the value of China’s train lines to Europe has been declining. Improvements in European rail lines and rising costs for handling shipping containers have driven down demand for eastbound Chinese railways. Beijing’s push for Silk Road railways in the form of mass investment and subsidies is likely a way to legitimize Chinese foreign policy strategy, regardless of profit, in a world increasingly critical of China’s aggressive military expansionism.

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