China Railways launches official China Europe Express portal
China Railways has launched its first official online portal serving the China Europe Express. The portal, on the one hand, will publish statistics about China Europe Express operations. On the other hand, forwarders can directly book containers in the digital platform over the existing China-Europe Express routes.
The website was supposed to launch in December last year but was delayed due to COVID-related implications. The website is much anticipated for rail forwarders active on the route between China and Europe since no such data centre was previously available to consolidate China-Europe-Express-related information. Currently, via the website, forwarders can search for the existing operational routes between China and Europe, as well as the service frequency and timeliness. Scattered data, such as the volume of each route, are also available. The website is available in three languages: Chinese, English and Russian.
Digitalisation on the track
Launching the platform is deemed a big step for China Railways to digitalise its services. Forwarders can now use the platform for insurance coverage, container tracking, electronic locking and other related Internet of Things (IoT) services. However, the platform might primarily benefit Chinese forwarders using the China Europe Express service since, as Miłosz Witkowski, rail freight director of PFC, said to RailFreight.com, all the booking of the containers from the European side is mainly made via partners in China. Nevertheless, even for European companies, the new tool is worth the exploration while it also brings hope for more digitisation and better information communication despite the ten-month delay.