DP World has announced the departure of the first UK to China export train, which is carrying containers of UK goods.
The train departed from DP World London Gateway’s rail terminal in South Essex, and is set to make the 7,500 mile, three-week-long journey towards Yiwu in the Zhe Jiang province in eastern China carrying products such as soft drinks, vitamins, pharmaceuticals and baby products.
It is expected to pass through nine countries, including France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan.
UK Minister of State in the Department for International Trade 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 £1.5bn London Gateway Port as it also welcomes its first regular container ships from Asia.”
The new service is part of China's One Belt, One Road programme, and is intended to revive the ancient Silk Road trading routes to the West.
DB's cargo locomotive will call in Duisburg, Germany after passing through the channel tunnel into France and Belgium. InterRail will then pull the train through Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan prior to its crossing to Yiwu.
OneTwoThree Logistics is responsible for the transportation and booking of cargo for the UK / China rail freight trains, while Yiwu Timex Industrial Investment is running the service in cooperation with China Railway Container.
Kerry Logistics Network participated in the commencement ceremony of the first eastbound freight train, and noted that the project is set to advance its expansion into the rail freight and multimodal services.
The first freight train from Yiwu to London was launched on 1 January and took approximately18 days.