Mirroring the first China-UK container train journey in January, a train has left Stanford-le-Hope in Essex and is bound for China’s Zhejiang province. The freight train will travel 12,000 km through seven other countries (France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan) along the Silk Road route over 17 days, arriving in the eastern province of Zhejiang on the 27th April.
FMCG products on board
The train’s cargo includes soft drinks, vitamins and baby products and will arrive in around half the amount of time it would take by sea. The route saw around 40,000 containers transported in 2016, and this is expected to increase to 100,000 in 2020. The route operator, Yiwu Timex Industrial Investment Co, has been running freight trains between Madrid, Spain and China for over a year.
A viable alternative to sea and air freight
Yiwu Timex Industrial Investment Co’s chairman, Xubin Feng, commented on the restoration and modernisation of the Silk Road route, saying it was "an important and exciting initiative…We have great faith in the UK as an export nation and rail provides an excellent alternative for moving large volumes of goods over long distances faster.”