Inauguration of the Zhengzhou-Liège freight railway line07/11/2018

On Wednesday 24 October, a first freight train from the Chinese rail transport company ZIH, measuring 600 metres long and comprising 37 carriages, left Wallonia (Liège Logistics Intermodal) with a cargo comprising mainly car parts and agri-food and pharmaceutical products. It is now on a 16-day journey (11,000 km) without any stopovers to Zhengzhou, the capital of the province of Henan, in Central China.

The province of Henan is 1,500 km from Shanghai, now the main centre of economic development in China. It is thanks to its central location, its 100 million inhabitants and its excellent relations with Wallonia that Henan was chosen to develop the Chinese logistics sector. A direct rail link had already been set up between Zhengzhou and Germany (Hamburg and Munich).  This new rail link completes the logistics offering "between the centre of Europe and the heart of China" according to the Walloon Minister of Economy, Pierre-Yves Jeholet and the Vice-Governor of Henan Provence, He Jinping.

This inauguration was also the opportunity to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the twinning between Henan Province and Wallonia. To celebrate this anniversary, an official delegation led by the Vice-Governor of the Province travelled to Wallonia from 22 to 25 October in order to reinforce the friendship and cooperation between the two regions.  This magnificent success initiated by Wallonia Export-Investment Agency targets the geographic diversification of Wallonia's international economic relations.

This project was also part of the Chinese strategy initiated in 2013 by President Xi Jinping in order to relaunch the famous silk roads, namely the land routes between China and Europe. With this in mind, a train will set off every week to connect the two logistics centres, followed by two other connections per week in 2019.

Although this new rail link is currently a test, the Minister of Economy, Pierre-Yves Jeholet refers to it as "one of the greatest stories in the history between Wallonia and China". He continues by saying: "When the leading economic power in the world, namely the United States, adopts such a protectionist policy, it is important to be able to be turn towards other players, such as China. We want Wallonia to focus on the outside world. This freight line is a great economic opportunity to be seized”.

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