China-built Volvos arrive by train

Volvo Cars has become the first car maker in the world to export China-made cars to Europe by train via China’s new ‘One Belt, One Road’ trade initiative.

The first S90 premium saloons, built at its Daqing plant in China, arrived at a distribution centre in Zeebrugge, Belgium. The cars have been transported to Belgium via the recently opened China-Europe railway link. The connection brings down the time it takes to transport vehicles to Europe by two thirds compared with the naval route.

The train route ties Volvo’s global manufacturing and logistics strategy to the multi-billion euro trade flows between China and Europe and the so-called One Belt, One Road initiative that seeks to resurrect the age-old Silk Road trade route for a new era of global trade.

Each of the Volvo-dedicated trains traveling between Daqing and Zeebrugge carry around 225 Volvo cars, which are transported in specially designed containers. One container holds three cars at different angles in order to maximise the use of space available inside. Special fixtures ensure that the cars are fastened during transport and do not move.

Initially, trains will depart from Daqing once a week. The plan is to increase this frequency in line with growing volumes.