Volvo sending first cars to China by train: "Cut transport times by half"

Car builders Volvo in Ghent are sending their first shipment of cars to China by train. It's a first for the direct rail link between North Sea Port and Xi'an, but the aim is to use the rail link very often: there are talks of 100 trains per year to transport a total of 25,000 cars. 

De Volvo factories in China were already sending cars by train to Belgium, but the transport from Ghent to China is a first. This train will carry 180 European XC90's, V90's and V60's to Xi'an,some 10,000 kilometres further. 

Until now, Volvo cars built in Ghent first had to be sent to the port of Zeebrugge in order to be transported to China - the same was true for other companies in the Ghent port. This detour will no longer be needed. It will take the direct train 22 days to arrive in Xi'an. "If you compare this to transport by road or by ship, delivery times will be halved", says Stefan Fesser, CEO of Volvo Cars Gent. 

Volvo Cars was already sending cargo to Milan and Schwertberg (Austria)  by train. All the rail links together are keeping an estimated 5,000 cars off the road each year. Economic experts say the rail link is good news for employment stability in Ghent in the longer term (Volvo Cars in Ghent is in Chinese hands). The Chinese are strongly supporting the new line, also financially with strong subsidies. 

Warre Schelfhout / VRT