Photo taken on Dec. 18, 2018 shows a block train packed with 41 containers of sawn timber in Kouvola, east Finland. The block train left Kouvola on Tuesday for Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province in northwest China. It takes two weeks for the 1,800 cubic meters of wood products to arrive in Xi'an, which is playing a bridge head role in opening up the central-west China, said Tommi Saarnisto, product manager of Metsa Fibre which is a prominent forest company of Finland. (Xinhua/Li Jizhi)
KOUVOLA, Finland, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- A block train packed with 41 containers of sawn timber left Kouvola, eastern Finland Tuesday and headed to Xi'an, the capital of Shaaxi province in northwestern China, or the hometown of renowed Terracotta Warriors.
It takes two weeks for the 1,800 cubic meters of wood products to arrive at Xi'an, which is playing a bridge head role in opening up the central western China, said Tommi Saarnisto product manager of Metsa Fibre, a prominent forest company of Finland.
The journey covers Russia and central Asian countries, and the train will enter China from Kazakhstan through Alataw Pass.
Metsa Fibre is currently the biggest provider of softwood pulp in China, but sales of new goods such as sawn timber have begun to grow there, according to Jani Riissanen, the company's SVP in charge of timber business.
Metsa Fibre has been among the "big customers" that are starting to embrace the railway logistic method for their exports to China, said Anu Kujansuu, Marketing Director of Kouvola Cargo Handling company.
"We are looking forward to big customers like Metsa to be interested in the railway transportation," Kujansuu said. She believed the railway service is a good alternative between air transportation and sea transportation, although "the price is a little bit higher."
"There are branches where 'the time is money', and you cannot wait for 45 days for your cargo to go to the customer," Kujansuu elaborated.
And the railway is more environmental friendly compared to other methods, and many big companies are paying attention to this merit, she added.
Riissanen was convinced that the cargo train that arrives at Xi'an provides a good option to expand the market in the vast nation, especially the remote inland areas far from the coast line.
For the moment, the east bound trains are running at an average frequency of twice a week, said Kujansuu on Wednesday. A second block train loaded with hardboard will depart from Kouvola later this week.
Kujansuu seemed satisfied with the development, and she considered the railway service linking with China, which started one year ago, bearing a rosy future.
"Before, I never thought a company located in Kouvola, not in the sea port, in Finland could be so linked to China," she said when commenting on the 40th anniversary of China's open-up policy.
"We didn't realize how close we are to China. Of course we think this new route and all these train routes to Europe from China is a great development," she said.