The UK’s Daily Mail reports the arrival of a freight train in east London has marked a new era for the 2,000-year-old trading route. It is the first freight train service from China to the UK. The route known as the ‘Silk Road’ once helped bring a wealth of goods from China to Europe.
The train pulled in to Barking after an 18-day journey from Yiwu, a wholesale market town in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang. It had passed through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France, finally crossing under the English Channel into Britain.
Laden with 68 twenty-foot equivalent containers, the train brought in a cargo of small commodities including household items, clothes, fabrics, bags, and suitcases.
The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, also known as The Belt and Road (abbreviated B&R), One Belt, One Road (abbreviated OBOR) or the Belt and Road Initiative is a development strategy and framework, proposed by Chinese paramount leader Xi Jinping that focuses on connectivity and cooperation among countries primarily between the People’s Republic of China and the rest of Eurasia, which consists of two main components, the land-based “Silk Road Economic Belt” (SREB) and oceangoing “Maritime Silk Road” (MSR). The strategy underlines China’s push to take a bigger role in global affairs, and its need for priority capacity cooperation in areas such as steel manufacturing. Wikipedia.
Ten containers were taken off at the German hub of Duisburg. The remainder arrived in London at Barking’s Eurohub freight terminal. The service is faster than sending goods by sea. Weekly trains will initially be run to assess demand.
A number of different locomotives and wagons were used as the former Soviet Union states have a larger rail gauge than the other countries involved. China Railway already has freight services to a number of European destinations, including Hamburg and Madrid.
They are part of China’s One Belt, One Road programme of reviving the ancient Silk Road trading routes to the West, initially created more than 2,000 years ago.
Run by Yiwu Timex Industrial Investment, the Yiwu-London freight service makes London the 15th European city to have a direct rail link with China after the 2013 unveiling of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative by Chinese premier Xi Jinping.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May said the relationship with China remains ‘golden’ as she seeks to bring in billions of dollars in Chinese investment as Britain prepares to leave the European Union. Read the full original Daily Mail article here!