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Riding wave of freight train services, Poland's border town expects closer ties with China

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Riding the wave of fast-growing freight train services by China Railway Express (CRE), the Polish town of Terespol is looking for closer cooperation with China.

XinhuaUpdated: November 30, 2020

The Polish town of Terespol, lying on the border with Belarus, has long been one of the busiest gateways to the European Union (EU). Now riding the wave of fast-growing freight train services by China Railway Express (CRE), the town is looking for closer cooperation with China.

File photo taken on April 8, 2020 shows a China-Europe freight train bound for Barcelona of Spain waiting for departure in Xi'an, northwest China's Shaanxi province. [Photo/Xinhua]

A growing number of freight trains are passing the Bug River at Terespol to and from the EU, traveling to various cities in Poland and across the continent, including Madrid of Spain, Paris of France, Tilburg of the Netherlands, and Duisburg of Germany, to name but a few.

"We already benefit from our location on the new silk road, which is very real," Jacek Danieluk, mayor of Terespol, told Xinhua in a recent interview. "You cannot avoid Terespol when traveling between the east and the west."

File photo taken on April 4, 2019 shows the first Luxembourg-Chengdu freight train starts at a cargo train station in Dudelange, Luxembourg. [Photo/Xinhua]

Currently, freight trains can transfer their cargo and conduct customs clearance at the nearby Malaszewice terminal, one of the largest in Europe, but those facilities are reaching their maximum capacity, said Danieluk.

"Around 10 to 20 trains pass by Terespol each day already," he said, adding that the growth of rail freight from China opens up the possibility of more investments in related projects.

These could include new transfer depots and other projects that would supplement rail activities in the border area, said the mayor. "Even though the town itself is a couple of kilometers from the rails, and we do not possess large plots of land beside the tracks, we are welcoming anyone who wants to set up their base here, including from China."

File photo taken on May 14, 2020 shows trains at a railway repair station in Warsaw, Poland. [Photo/Xinhua]

The municipality of 6,000 inhabitants has already made plots available for additional logistical projects, Danieluk said. "We are ready for further investments. Terespol itself has all the necessary attributes."

"We receive European funds for our infrastructure as well, so it is in very good shape," Danieluk said. "In contrast to neighboring municipalities, the town of Terespol is not shrinking in population."

Danieluk is also very positive about the increased freight traffic between Poland and China. "The trade route engages Russia and Belarus as well, which could contribute to cooperation between Poland and its neighbors," he said.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic slowdown, Danieluk is optimistic. "I am sure that this will pass, and that we can deepen the collaboration with China in the future."