Cross-border cargo from Yiwu increases ninefold

E-commerce merchants look to ‘world’s small commodities market’ to ship parcels by rail to Europe

by Nadeem Xu
Cross-border cargo from Yiwu increases ninefold
Yiwu is favoured for its rail links to Europe and the rest of Asia.

(ATF) Overseas shipments of e-commerce merchandise via Yiwu – dubbed the world’s leading small commodities market – have increased ninefold since the coronavirus lockdown grounded cargo flights from China.

The eastern city handled 1.47 million cross-border parcels in April, up 867.2 % year-on-year, local customs said Thursday.

The China-Europe freight-train service, which was launched in Yiwu in 2014, has provided a new channel for the transportation of international mail during the coronavirus pandemic. More and more cross-border e-commerce enterprises in the city and surrounding Zhejiang Province have turned to rail since flights were halted to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and now account for 68.6% of the total.

E-commerce merchants in cities such as Hangzhou and Shanghai turned to Yiwu as a distribution point because of its rail links when the government closed down the economy at the end of January.

"Previously, only 10,000 to 20,000 consignments of parcels were exported each day on average. However, the number rocketed and remained at more than 50,000 amid the pandemic," Song Jiansheng with Yiwu Customs was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

Wang Cong, general manager of Yiwu Kaijiang E-commerce Co, said the Europe-bound rail service not only cut the delivery time but also made the transport price half that of air freight.

The China-Europe freight train service has expanded rapidly and now has 12 routes linking Yiwu with 37 countries and regions across Eurasia.

Statistics show that a total of 133 China-Europe freight trains departed from Yiwu this year. The trains carried 11,220 TEUs of cargo, up 44% year-on-year.