The train was loaded in Yiwu West Railway Station in eastern Zhejiang province © Xinhua/SIPA/Press Association Images
The train was loaded in Yiwu West Railway Station in eastern Zhejiang province © Xinhua/SIPA/Press Association Images

Freight train running from China to UK is a first

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
3 January 2017

The first freight train has set off from China to the UK on the reintroduced historic Silk Road trade route.

The train, carrying household items, garments, textiles, bags and suitcases, will take around 18 days to travel more than 12,000km.

The train, which left on New Year’s Day from Yiwu in eastern Zhejiang province, will pass through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France before arriving in London.

According to the China Railway Corporation (CRC), London will be the 15th European city to receive freight train services from China.

The CRC said the service would “improve China-Britain trade ties, strengthen connectivity with western Europe, while better serving China’s Belt and Road initiative, an infrastructure and trade network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes”, China’s state-owned news agency Xinhua reported.

Under China’s officially named One Belt, One Road initiative, billions of dollars will be ploughed into infrastructure along historic trade routes in a bid to shift the world’s centre of economic gravity.

China is the EU’s second biggest trading partner after the US and in 2015 the EU imported goods worth €350.5bn from China, up 4.4% on 2014.

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