The first ever UK to China export train departed on 10 April from DP World London Gateway’s rail terminal, bound for Yiwu in the Zhe Jiang province in eastern China.
The route runs through the tunnel under the English Channel, via France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan and on to China. KTZ Express, a subsidiary of Kazakh Railways, is contracted to manage the 1520 mm gauge section of the route.
Executive director of JSC KTZ Express Karl Geissen said, “the potential of Kazakhstan’s transport and logistics infrastructure enables the shippers to build a multimodal chain that cuts the delivery time twofold.” “It takes approximately 36-38 days to deliver cargo by sea,” he added.
Mr Geissen noted that the freight trains running between China and Europe strengthen trade and economic ties, create platforms and opportunities for the development of land transport between China and Western Europe through the territory of Kazakhstan, which in turn contributes to the implementation of Nurly Zhol programme and the “One Belt, One Road” initiative.
Before sending a container train to the PRC, Greg Hands, UK Foreign Trade Minister, stressed that the “new path connecting Europe with China can serve as a new driving force for a globalised UK.”
This inaugural export train bound for China departed just under three months after the first ever import train from China arrived in the UK in mid-January.