BEIJING, March 16 (Xinhua) -- A cargo train loaded with 55 containers left Beijing Thursday morning for the Russian capital Moscow, marking the launch of the first direct China-Europe freight train service from the Chinese capital.
The freight train carrying goods such as construction materials, household electrical appliances and clothing departed from the logistic hub of Pinggu District in the northeast of the city and will exit the country via Manzhouli Port in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
The train is expected to reach Moscow in 18 days, covering a distance of approximately 9,000 km.
"In the past, we needed to send the products to Henan or Hebei provinces before they were shipped to Europe," said Chu Yixiao, general manager of the Taitong International Transportation Co., Ltd.
"With the launch of this freight train service, goods can now be sent directly from Beijing to Europe, reducing logistics costs and boosting transportation efficiency," he said, adding that the development presents new opportunities for businesses to thrive.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). According to Liu Zhenfang, chairman of the board of the China State Railway Group Co., Ltd, China-Europe freight trains have linked 108 Chinese cities with 208 cities in 25 European countries, with the cargo routes handling 65,000 freight train trips.