The first rail freight service from United Kingdom to China departed from Essex. Earlier the first freight train in the opposite direction, from China to UK had arrived in London in January 2017.
The train service was launched as part of China’s ambitious One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative that aims to revive the ancient Silk Road trading routes with the West dating back more than 2,000 years.
- The 30 containers train carrying British goods including pharmaceuticals will travel over 7,500 miles to reach Yiwu (China), a famed wholesale market town in the eastern province of Zhejiang in 17 days.
- The train during the journey will pass through seven countries – France, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Russia, Kazakhstan before reaching final destination in China.
- The operators have mentioned that the rail transportation between UK and China is cheaper than by air and faster than by sea.
About China’s One Belt and One Road (OBOR) Initiative
- OBOR initiative is China’s ambitious development strategy and framework that aims to boost its connectivity and trade across Asia, Africa and Europe.It was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. It has been launched as part of China’s revived 21st century Silk Road diplomacy that seeks to push it to take a bigger role in global affairs as a major global power. It is basically investment and trade promotion scheme aiming to deepen economic connections between China and rest of the world. It comprises two components viz. the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.