SHANGHAI – The first train carrying goods traveling from the United Kingdom to China reached the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu after 19 days of journey, the China Railway Corporation said Saturday.
The transcontinental cargo train, loaded with 32 containers, carried products such as whisky bottles, sodas, vitamins, medicines and baby products.
The train left London on April 10, and reached China after traveling 12,000 kilometers (7,456 miles) through seven countries.
This was first round trip on the new route with London becoming the fifteenth European city on the list of China-Europe cargo train services.
The route is a part of Beijing’s initiative to create a new “Silk Road,” which the Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in 2013 shortly after assuming office.
China also plans to revive the old Silk Road and create a modern equivalent to energize the country’s economy, just as the old commercial circuit did in centuries past.
Under the initiative known as “Yi dai, Yi Lu” (a strip, a route) or the New Silk Road, Beijing supports the construction of all kinds of communication and transport infrastructure connecting Asia, Europe and Africa.
Beijing also hopes the route will help establish the world’s largest platform for economic cooperation.
The train, which inaugurated the route, left China in January from Yiwu in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang, known to be one of the leading global centers for domestic products.
It was loaded with 700 tons of goods, including clothing, backpacks, fabrics and household items, worth a total value of 35 million yuan ($5.1 million).
To get to London’s Barking station, the Chinese train had to pass through China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium, and France.