A direct freight train linking Wuhan in central China and Lyons in France began operation on Wednesday [6 April 2016]. The train, loaded with mechanical, electronic and chemical products, will exit China through Alataw Pass in Xinjiang, the westernmost Chinese region, and pass through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany before reaching its destination. It will take 16 days to complete the 11,300-kilometer journey, slashing the usual 50 to 60 days to transport from Wuhan to France by sea…Full Article: Xinhua Apr 2016

Key Point

  • The new train route, part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, is expected to transport agricultural goods and wine (among others).

ChinaAg Comments

  • In July 2015, Yunnan Province began container train service (shipping coffee and other goods) to Europe. As a result, the transit time from Kunming, Yunnan Province, to Rotterdam, Netherlands, was shorten to 15 days (vs. 30 days by sea).
  • In late 2013, the Xi’an-Almaty cargo train route (~6 days) was opened and generally only carried goods from China to Kazakhstan, but has now began shipping goods into China in early 2016.
  • In December 2013, the Zeleny corridor opened in Bakhty, East Kazakhstan Province and in its cross border checkpoint in Paikitu, Xinjiang Region, China.
  • In the Autumn of 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, a strategic initiative to boost the economic development and trade of countries lying along the South China Sea, Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, and Red Sea, as well as overland in Central Asia and Europe.

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