A freight train from China arrived in Tehran on Monday, Iranian and Chinese media reported; the train, carrying 32 freight containers, arrived in Tehran after a 14-day, 10,399 kilometre (6,462 mile) journey from Yiwu city in east China.
The train’s journey was 30 days shorter than the time usually taken by ships to sail from Shanghai to Iran’s Bandar Abbas port.
With the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions, Iran is being heavily courted by China. Beijing sees the country as a key part of its “One Belt, One Road” policy to increase international trade and open new export markets for its firms as its domestic economy slows.
A big part of the policy is to expand the use of railways between China and Europe to shorten freight travel time, creating a modern ‘Silk Road’, Beijing has said.
Xinhua also quoted Iran’s transport minister as saying one freight train would now travel from China to Iran every month. These freight trains would eventually be bound for Europe, helping Tehran develop into a transit centre between the two regions, according to quotes attributed to the minister.