The rail freight link between the city of Chengdu in southwest China's Sichuan Province and a city in Poland, Lodz, which has been in operation for six years, has become a popular logistics route for trade between the two regions, contributing significantly to the Route initiative.

The route initiative, proposed by China in 2013, refers to the 21st Century Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road initiative to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia, Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient Silk Road trade routes. The city of Lodz became a major transportation hub after China established a rail network linking the Chinese city of Chengdu with European countries.

Hatrans Logistics is the operator of the Chengdu - Lodz freight train in Lodz, Poland. As the heir to the third generation of the family business, Filip Grzelak is developing the business based on the achievements of his grandfather and father. "I think most of it [comes from China]. Because we mix goods. In the back we have things for retail, also from China," - Filip Grzelak said.

In December 2012, the Chengdu-Lodz freight train made its yawning journey. In 2013, only 10 trains arrived in Lodz. The number is expected to rise to 500 in 2018, which will contribute significantly to Hatrans Logistics' growth. "Business is growing, more and more transactions are occurring, so the need to build a terminal will probably increase in the near future," - Grzelak said. China-Poland freight trains have also brought big changes to the city. "The latest information from Transport Logistic shows that Lodz has become the most important logistics and warehousing link in Central Europe. I must admit that before the opening of the new freight train, things were very different here. Now it's a new look," said Krzysztof Piatkowski, vice mayor of Lodz. The deputy mayor said he was happy that his city has finally found a new path of development, logistics. "This means that Lodz's logistics industry is developing during our cooperation with China. This is also the direction of the city's future development," Krzysztof Piatkowski said.

China-Europe freight trains not only bring development opportunities to Poland, but also attract many investors from China. Bai Xue is the European representative of the Foreign Logistics Department at Speed Express, a Sino-South Korean joint venture. The opening of China-Europe freight links has brought her company tremendous growth opportunities. "My name is Bai Xue. I live and work in Poland. I work for a logistics company. Last year, our company opened a branch office in Poland. I was lucky enough to be the first foreign employee. With the help of China-Europe freight trains, as well as the Belt and Road, our company is flourishing and growing. So we need to hire more people," - Bai said.

"My name is Zhang Huaiyu. I am the quality manager at the Polish TCL plant. China-Europe Freight Trains has launched a special train for our TCL, once a week with more than 40 containers. We no longer have to wait for accessories for more than a month as before," - Zhang said. Many of TCL's production accessories are manufactured in China and then transported to Poland for assembly and sale. Previously, any damage or lack of accessories could lead to a halt in production, bringing huge losses to the plant. "If the matter was urgent, we could only use air transport, which is very expensive. Since we have rail transportation, we have saved a lot," Zhang said.

The plant employs more than 600 people, which creates great employment opportunities. "I manage the TCL factory in Poland. Here we are in the heart of the factory. Can you imagine that every five seconds we have a new TV at the end of the line?" - said Tomasz Olender, deputy general manager of TCL's Polish plant.

"Production cannot be old-fashioned. We have to be innovative, very fast and respond quickly to customer needs. We have to be very efficient, because with shorter delivery times by rail, we are more competitive. Components arrive at the factory and then almost immediately go to the production line. So you can imagine that it takes an average of three days to produce a TV from material to a finished product that can be shipped to the customer." - Olender said.

Author: gf / Source: TVN24 International, Reuters