Cars will be transported on rails, not on water.

Volvo is happy to announced it has shipped the first China-produced S90 sedans to Europe. “The most premium car ever made” in the People’s Republic will arrive at a distribution center in Zeebrugge, Belgium, later this week. More precisely, tomorrow, May 31, which coincides with China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang visitation in Belgium.

This delivery marks the first time a car manufactured in China is being transported to the Old continent by train via the country’s new “One Belt, One Road” trade initiative. The Swedish brand says that using the recently opened China-Europe railway link cuts the transportation time by two thirds compared to the naval route, meaning customers will receive their cars faster after ordering.

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Volvo says not only customers will be getting their cars faster than before, but also the environmental impact of logistics operations will be reduced, as CO2 emissions per ton/kilometer are reduced by a third compared to sea transport. Cars will be transported between the factory and Belgium in specially designed containers, which carry around 225 vehicles.

In November last year, the Swedish company started building the range-topping S90 Excellence (pictured below) in China and very soon all S90 models will be manufactured exclusively in its Daqing factory with global export. Initially, the Daqing - Zeebrugge train will make travels once a week, but with the growing production volumes this number will also significantly raise.

Gallery: China-built 2017 Volvo S90

The S90, and its long-wheelbase S90L variant, is the second model to be exported from China to different markets around the globe after the S60L. Available in the United States as the S60 Inscription, the vehicle has a stretched wheelbase providing an extra 3.4 inches (8.6 centimeters) of rear legroom compared to the regular S60.

Recently, Volvo also confirmed production of the next generation 60-series models of the marque will take place in Chengdu, Szechuan province in Western China. The upcoming 40-series will eventually be manufactured in China too, at a new factory currently being built in Luqiao located 217 miles (350 km) south of Shanghai.

China-made Volvo S90 heading to Europe
China-made Volvo S90 heading to Europe
China-made Volvo S90 heading to Europe

Source: Volvo

Gallery: China-made Volvo S90 heading to Europe

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First China-built Volvo S90 sedans arrive in Europe via ground-breaking rail link

Volvo Cars has become the first automaker 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 sedans, built at its Daqing plant in China, will arrive at a distribution centre in Zeebrugge, Belgium this week. 

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, meaning customers receive their car faster after ordering.

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. 

The railway link also illustrates how China is turning into a global manufacturing and export hub for high-end consumer products. 

Volvo was the first Western car maker to export a premium China-made car to the US in 2015 with the S60 Inscription.  In November of last year Volvo started building high-end versions of its S90 premium sedan in Daqing for global exports, and will soon be building all S90 vehicles in the factory for global export. 

Beyond shorter waiting times for customers, rail is also a smarter choice in terms of the environmental impact of logistics operations. Given the same distance the CO2 emissions per tonne/km are reduced by a third by choosing rail over sea transport. In this case the savings will be even higher based on the shorter distance. 

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 maximize 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. 

The first S90 sedans will arrive in Zeebrugge on May 31, the same week as China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang visits Belgium.  In connection with his visit in the country, Li Keqiang is also scheduled to meet with Volvo Cars’ chairman Li Shufu and CEO Håkan Samuelsson.