Adding another terminal to the rail freight between China and Europe, the first China-bound freight train carrying British products left London on a 12,000-km journey on Monday.
The DB Cargo train, loaded with 30 containers carrying products, including whisky, soft drinks, vitamins and baby products, started from east London's DP World Gateway to Yiwu city in central Zhejiang province, east China.
The 12,000-km journey will pass through nine countries in 18 days. During the trip, the train's locomotives have to be changed due to different railway gauges in the countries. After going through the Channel Tunnel, the train will pass through countries including France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan -- before arriving in eastern China on April 27.
Three months ago the first freight service from China to Britain arrived in Barking, East London. The journey was cheaper than air freight and faster than sea freight.
The service was part of China's ‘One Belt, One Road’ programme of reviving the ancient ‘Silk Road’ trading routes with the West, initially created more than 2,000 years ago.
DP World Chief Executive Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said that the first freight service from Britain to China is a ‘significant trade occasion’.
"DP World London Gateway, one of the UK's largest logistics hubs, is designed and developed to ensure products can be both imported and exported from Britain via ship or train in a faster, safer and more reliable way than ever before," he added.
"We look forward to enabling and facilitating more trade between Britain, China and the whole world."
"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," International Trade Minister Greg Hands said.
"It shows the huge global demand for quality UK goods and is a great step for DP World's £1.5 billion London Gateway port as it also welcomes its first regular container ships from Asia," he added.
London is the 15th European city on an expanding map of China's rail freight, the daily reported.
With IANS Inputs