CHINA: History-Making Trip

CHINA: History-Making Trip

The first freight train to run from the United Kingdom (U.K.) to China departed in April 2017, carrying goods such as vitamins, baby products and pharmaceuticals as the U.K. seeks to burnish its global trading credentials.

The 12,000-kilometer journey from eastern England to eastern China was to take 17 days, about half the time needed for the equivalent journey by boat. The first freight train from China arrived in the United Kingdom in January 2017. The bright red train left a depot at Stanford-Le-Hope in Essex for Barking in east London, hauling dozens of containers.

From Barking, it passed through the Channel Tunnel into France and on to Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan before ending up in Yiwu, China.

The United Kingdom is trying to enhance its trade links with the rest of the world as it prepares to leave the EU in two years’ time.

“This new rail link with China is another boost for global Britain, following the ancient Silk Road trade route to carry British products around the world,” said Greg Hands, a British trade minister.

Run by Yiwu Timex Industrial Investment, the Yiwu-London freight service makes London the 15th European city to have a direct rail link with China after the 2013 unveiling of the One Belt, One Road initiative by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“This is the first export train and just the start of a regular direct service between the U.K. and China,” said Xubin Feng, chairman of Yiwu Timex Industrial Investment Co. “We have great faith in the U.K. as an export nation, and rail provides an excellent alternative for moving large volumes of goods over long distances faster.”  Reuters