A direct freight train linking Wuhan in central China and Lyons in France began operations on 6th of April. The train, loaded with mechanical, electronic and chemical cargo, exits China through Alataw Pass in Xinjiang, the westernmost Chinese region, and pass through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany before reaching its destination. It takes 16 days to complete the 11,300-km journey, slashing the usual 50 to 60 days to ship cargo from Wuhan to France by sea.
The new train route, part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, is expected to transport agricultural goods and wine.
In July 2015, Yunnan Province began a freight container train service (shipping coffee and other goods) to Europe. As a result, the transit time from Kunming, Yunnan Province, to Rotterdam, Netherlands, was shortened to 15 days compared with 30 days by sea.