‘China has tea, France has wine’
A bonded warehouse for the distribution of wine in the Chinese province of Hubai was opened last month. The warehouse is situated in Wuhan, an important hub on the New Silk Road. The wine comes predominantly from France.
The new warehouse is a response to the growing popularity of European wine in the region. Wine has become an important beverage on the Chinese consumption market and Hubei is a major province for the production and marketing of alcoholic beverages. The warehouse is to function as a trading platform and supply channel for Hubei and even the wider region.
Quoted on Chinese media site Zhongxin.com, the deputy general manager of Wuhan Hanou International Logistics, Wang Lei, explained that the bonded warehouse could improve customs clearance speed, reduce capital occupation and reduce trade costs. These are advantages sought after by e-commerce companies.
New Silk Road
The success of the warehouse relies on the New Silk Road; the availability of numerous train connections to European countries. France is the most important manufacturing country of mostly red wine, and there are already good train rail freight services to places as Lyon and Dourge.
“Tea is a symbol of Chinese culture, wine is a symbol of French culture”, said Gui Yonghua, Consul General of the French Consulate General in Wuhan to the same media. “France and Wuhan have a deep relationship; China had a Silk Road in ancient times, and now there is a ‘Belt and Road’. This is a road to friendship for France and Wuhan.”
Similarly, Wuhan has proven its potential on the New Silk Road with frequent departures as well as arrivals from and to many European countries. It is also well connected to its wider region by rail, not only to neighbouring provinces but to northeast China, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Guangdong. It therefore foresees to become a B2B trading platform for the e-commerce of wine.
The starting point for Wuhan-Europe rail freight services is the Wuiiashan Terminal. Initially, this terminal had three railway lines for arrivals and departures but in January last year, an additional five lines have been laid to meet rising demand.