China-Poland freight trains boost economic development in the city of Łódź
The rail freight service between Chengdu City of southwest China's Sichuan Province and Poland's Łódź, which has been operating for six years, has become a popular logistics route for the trade between the two regions, contributing significantly to the Belt and Road Initiative.
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, refers to the initiative on the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aiming to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia, Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient Silk Road trade routes.
The city of Łódź has become a major hub after China established the rail network to connect Chinese city Chengdu with European countries.
The Hatrans Logistics is the operator of the Chengdu-Lodz freight train in Łódź. As the third-generation successor of the family business, Philip Grzelak has been expanding the business based on his grandfather's and father's achievements.
"I think most of them [are from China]. Because we are mixing goods. Back there we have things for retail, also from China," said Philip Grzelak.
In December 2012, the Chengdu-Łódź freight train took its maiden journey. Back then there were only 10 trains arrived in Łódź in 2013. This figure is projected to rocket to 500 in 2018, greatly benefiting the development of Hatrans Logistics.
"The business is expanding, more and more trades are coming, so there probably will rise the need in the near future to build the terminal," said Grzelak.
The China-Poland freight trains also brought great changes to the city.
"The latest information from the Transport Logistic is that, Łódź has become the most important logistics and warehousing link in central Europe. I have to admit that, before the new freight train was opened, it was so different here. Now it's a new look," said Krzysztof Piątkowski, deputy mayor of Łódź.
The deputy mayor said he was glad that his city has finally found a new development path, logistics.
"This means that, Łódź's logistics industry is rising during our cooperation with China. This is also the focus of the city's future development," said Krzysztof Piątkowski.
The 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 Overseas Logistics Department with Speed Express, a China-South Korea joint-venture company. The opening of the China-Europe freight trains brought great development opportunity to her company.
"My name is Bai Xue. I have been living and working in Poland. I work at a logistics company. Last year our company set up a branch in Poland. I was so lucky to be the first overseas employee. With the help of the China-Europe freight trains as well as the Belt and Road, our company is thriving and expanding. So we need to hire more people," said Bai.
"My name is Zhang Huaiyu. I am the quality manager in TCL's Polish plant. The China-Europe freight trains have set up a special train for our TCL, once a week with more than 40 containers. We don't have to wait for the accessories for more than one month like before," said Zhang.
Many accessories of TCL production are made in China, and then transported to Poland for assembly and selling. Previously, any damage or lack of accessories may lead to the plants to stop production, bringing huge losses to the plant.
"If it was urgent, then we can only use air transportation which is very expensive. Since we have rail transportation now, we saved a lot," said Zhang.
There are more than 600 people in the plant, creating a large quantity of job chances.
"I am managing 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 set at the end of the line?" said Tomasz Olender, deputy general manager of TCL Polish Plant.
Olender worked his way from technician to the top of the factory, where he has devoted all his professional passion and efforts for more than a decade. Efficiency and innovation are the key words he often talks about.
"The production can not be old fashioned. We have to be innovative, very fast, and responding to the needs of the customer very quickly. We need to be very effective in that, because of the shortening deliver time for the railway transportation, we are more competitive. Components are arriving at the factory, then they are put on the production line almost immediately. So you can imagine that on average it takes on three days to produce the TV set from the material to the ready product which can be shipped to the customer," said Olender.