A new freight train service started on Friday linking the east China port city of Xiamen with Moscow, making it the newest China-Europe freight train route.
At 9:30 a.m., the train with 40 containers left the station from Xiamen Free Trade Zone carrying goods worth 363,000 U.S. dollars including granite, lighting supplies, artificial flowers and shoes for Moscow.
A single trip on the 10,920-km route takes 13 to 14 days. Without the direct train service, it used to take at least 25 days to transport goods.
The train route connects the east and northeast Chinese cities of Nanchang, Nanjing, Jinan and Jinzhou, and crosses the border via Manzhouli Port in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Jiang Jingdong, assistant general manager of Xiamen Haicang Free Trade Port Zone Investment and Construction Management Co. Ltd., said the service is still in trial operations with three trips from Xiamen to Moscow per month. The freight train service will be normalized in the second half of this year.
Huang Changhong, manager of Trans-China Logistics Co.,Ltd., said that trade between Xiamen and Russia is complementary. Xiamen and its surrounding cities are export-oriented with machinery equipment and shoemaking industries, while it imports wood, paper pulp and vegetable oil from Russia.
Lin Jiangfan, an official with Xiamen Haicang Free Trade Port Zone, said that as the host city of the 2017 BRICS Summit slated for September, Xiamen welcomes a closer partnership with Russia, one of the BRICS countries. The Xiamen-Moscow freight train service could also strengthen the Belt and Road Initiative, driving trade in Xiamen.
In 2016, exports from Xiamen to Russia reached more than 5 billion yuan (727 million U.S. dollars), and imports from Russia totaled 1.9 billion yuan.