UK-China rail freight service rolls out at start of 7,500-mile `Silk Road´ trip
The first rail freight service from the UK to China set off from Essex on Monday.
A train pulling 30 containers filled with British-produced goods began the 7,500-mile journey from the DP World London Gateway rail terminal in Stanford-le-Hope.
Whisky, soft drinks, vitamins, pharmaceuticals and baby products are among the items being exported.
And it's off! A 7,500 mile trip across Europe & Asia begins; UK exports bound for China. pic.twitter.com/rx6cDG0JTj
— London Gateway (@LondonGatewayUK) April 10, 2017
InterRail will then pull the cargo through Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazahkstan before arriving at Yiwu, eastern China on April 27.
The train departed almost three months after the first freight service from China to the UK arrived in east London.
The journey is cheaper than air freight and faster than sending goods by ship.
Xubin Feng, chairman of Yiwu Timex Industrial Investment Co, which is organising the service, said: “We are proud to be able to offer the first ever UK to China export train.
“Restoring the ancient Silk Road as a means by which China, north Europe and now the UK can exchange goods is an important and exciting initiative.
“This is the first export train and just the start of a regular direct service between the UK and China. 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.
DP World chief executive Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem described the train’s departure as a “significant trade occasion”.International trade minister Greg Hands said: “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.
“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.”