Barking welcomes first direct Silk Road freight train from China to London

A crowd of politicians, journalists and local  residents – some dressed up as Chinese dragons –  turned up at the Barking Intermodal Terminal in east London yesterday to  welcome and watch as the the first ever freight train to come direct from China to the UK arrived, carrying approximately £4m worth of socks, cloth, bags, and household goods.
Pulled by the East Wind locomotive (named after  Mao’s “The east wind will prevail over the west wind” aphorism) the train had travelled 7,500 miles and traversed seven countries before reaching the Channel Tunnel since it set out from the manufacturing city of Yiwu, a town in Zheizhang province some 350km inland from Shanghai that is responsible for the  manufacture or distribution of over 60%  of the world’s Christmas goods.
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. Carsten Pottharst, managing director of Switzerland-based InterRail Group, the train’s operator, told Reuters that  he hoped there would be more such runs between China and Britain.
“This moment was important to show that we can run the train in less than 18 days to the UK,” he said. “It depends also on how much cargo we can get from the UK to China – if we can manage to get more trains eastbound, then there could be more.”
Although plans for the route pre-date the UK vote to leave the EU last year,  subsequent efforts by Theresa May’s government to strengthen trade ties with China could well help increase future demand for the service. According to the Office of National Statistics, China’s a trading partner has increased consistently since 2004, with imports more than trebling and exports quadrupling in the space of a decade to respectively represent 7.% and 3.3% of the UK’s trading activity by the end of 2014.

Source: standard