China’s northeast city Changchun saw its first freight train depart to Hamburg, Germany, on Friday.
The trip will take 12 to 15 days at the maximum speed of 120 kilometers per hour, according to a local official.
Liu Changlong, Changchun’s mayor, said at the opening ceremony that the move will give an impetus to the city’s economy and further integrate Changchun with the rest of the world.
“A growing number of products made in China will be exported to European market, then to the whole world. Meanwhile, more sectors, capital and technologies will be drawn to Changchun, which is fundamental to help rejuvenate the old industrial base in northeastern China,” Liu said.
The train is hauling auto parts, electronic machinery and equipment, valves and clothing made in Jilin province or places in northern China, and will pass through Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and Belgium before it arrives at the destination.
The freight train service, officially known as China Railway Express, is an important part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. It refers to the transcontinental cargo trains linking China, Europe, and some other economies participating in the initiative.
In the past five years, China has launched about 5,500 freight train services linking the country with European market, reported China Central Television.
As of mid-Sept, the freight trains connect 33 Chinese cities with 32 cities in 12 European countries, according to the state television.