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Vietnam - Belgium Launch First Direct Container Train

Valerie Mai Valerie Mai

mnghonganh@gmail.com

July 20, 2021 | 21:11

This marks the first container train operated by Railway Transport and Trading Joint Stock Company (Ratraco) in coordination with shipping and forwarding businesses based in other countries.

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Vietnam - Belgium Launch First Direct Container Train
Vietnam Railways launches the first freight train service from Vietnam to Belgium. (Photo: VNA)

The Vietnam Railways Corporation (VNR) said on July 20 that it will organize the first container train transporting goods from the nation to Belgium, with the journey set to depart from Yen Vien station and arriving at Liege in Belgium. Following their arrival in Belgium, the containers will subsequently be transported by road to their final destination of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

VNR said the train carried 23 containers with such goods as textile, leather, and footwear. During its journey, the train will stop at Zhenzhou city of China’s Henan province and connect to the Asia-Europe train to reach its destination, according to VNA.

This marks the first container train operated by Railway Transport and Trading Joint Stock Company (Ratraco) in coordination with shipping and forwarding businesses based in other countries. The successful organization of the container train from the nation to Belgium will serve to open up rail transport links that go deeper into Europe, in addition to the existing routes to Germany and Poland, VOV said.

Currently, VNR is providing freight train services between Vietnam and China and transiting to Russia, Europe, ASEAN, and Central Asian countries. The firm provides full logistics services to customers.

Vietnam - Belgium Launch First Direct Container Train
The first container train runs directly from Vietnam to Belgium. (Photo: Ratraco)

Nguyen Hoang Thanh, deputy director-general of Ratraco, said that the successful organization of the train from Vietnam to Belgium will open up rail transport routes going deeper into Europe, in addition to the existing ones to Germany and Poland.

“Currently, Ratraco and its European partner plan to organize eight trips per month departing from Vietnam,” Thanh said, adding that the total estimated time for the entire journey is 25 to 27 days. It is expected that the second train will depart from Yen Vien station on July 27 carrying electronic products and the third one on August 3, he said.

In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, international maritime transport is facing difficulties, rail service is being sought by many customers to transport goods from Vietnam to China and from there on to Europe. With the advantage of an efficient international rail connection system and trains arriving at destination stations on time with reasonable costs, intermodal rail transport is thriving.

Belgium and Vietnam have maintained diplomatic relations since 22 March 1973. The ambitions of both countries to build a strong relationship have created rich and multiple partnerships, according to the Embassy and Consulate of Belgium in Vietnam.

Since the EU - Vietnam free trade agreement (EVFTA) took effect in August 2020, Belgium has played a significant role in promoting trade and foreign investments into Vietnam, according to VOV World.

As of March 2021, Belgium has 78 investment projects in Vietnam, with a total registered capital of 1.1 billion USD, ranking 23rd among 131 countries investing in Vietnam. Vietnam is Belgium’s 14th largest trade partner, with a trade value reaching more than 707 million USD in 2020, up 6.7 percent compared to 2019.

With increasing trade and investment between Belgium and Vietnam, Belgian investors have opportunities to invest in Vietnamese industries, favoring the economic and political landscape between the two countries.

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Valerie Mai