Chengdu city in Southwest China started freight trains to Belarus on 1 March, the first of the city’s planned 150 freight trains to countries such as Belarus, Russia and Lithuania this year. The train, which was carrying 41 containers of auto parts, left Sichuan Wednesday afternoon and will reach Minsk 12 days later after a trip of over 8,800-km.
The auto parts were ordered by a Chinese carmaker for its joint venture in Minsk.
Chengdu ran 460 freight trains to cities in Poland, the Netherlands and Germany last year — more than any city in China. In 2017, the city is planning to operate 1,000 freight trains to countries in Europe.
Demand for rail freight between China and Europe, as an alternative to ocean shipping and much costlier air freight, has exploded in recent years.