China’s first freight train linking the Communist nation directly to the UK today arrived in the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu after a 12,000-kilometre trip, the world’s second-longest rail route.
The trans-continental freight train, loaded with 32 containers, mainly carrying maternity products and soft drinks, departed from London on April 10 and arrived today in Yiwu, which is home to the world’s largest commodity market, the China Railway Corporation (CRC) said.
The train travelled to more than 12,000 kms and passed through seven countries before reaching the Chinese manufacturing and trade hub where small goods such as homeware, garments and souvenirs are made.
London is the 15th city in Europe added to China-Europe freight train services. The first Chinese freight train arrived in London in January.
The China-Britain freight service paves a safe and efficient trade route by land, strengthening bilateral trade ties and better serving the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, the CRC said.
China now has express freight services to 28 European cities. Since March 2011, more than 3,500 trips have been made.
The figure should rise to 5,000 by 2020, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.
Meanwhile, railway authorities of China, Belarus, Germany, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Poland and Russia have signed an agreement to deepen cooperation on China-Europe freight rail services, the China Railway Corporation said.
The agreement serves the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, expands the market share of rail freight between Asia and Europe, and drives economic development and trade cooperation for counties along the route.
The countries will jointly push for better railway infrastructure for a safe, smooth, fast, convenient and competitive rail route, according to the agreement.
Information technology will boost train speed and unified service. Information sharing platforms will be built to ensure transport safety.
The countries will expand the rail services to more areas with faster customs clearance. A joint work team and expert team will be formed to solve problems.
The China-Europe freight train service was launched in 2011 and grown rapidly with high efficiency. It has become an important part of the Belt and Road Initiative.
A total of 3,557 freight trains have run so far, with services reaching 27 Chinese cities and 28 cities in 11 countries in Europe.—Xinhua