First Train Bound for London Leaves Yiwu, China

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 1/03/2017 02:53:00 PM
The land leg of the "One Belt, One Road" initiative keeps reaching farther.
Your initial thought might be, "That post title is a typo," but I assure you that it's not. Current Premier Xi Jinping has been championing a "One Belt, One Road" initiative to replicate the old Silk Road through which goods flowed throughout the Eurasian landmass--with China obviously playing an important role. The modern initiative seeks to not only consolidate trade with its existing partners but also create new trade linkages with frontier markets. Think of Afghanistan, Iran, etc. that China is courting favor with which haven't been as open to world trade for one reason or another.

In this sense the UK is already a "secured" market. Still, ensuring that substantial exports to the UK remain so is the objective here:
China has launched its first freight train to London over 12,000 kilometres away as part of efforts by the world's second largest economy to expand rail links to different areas across the globe to improve its dwindling exports and stabilise slowdown. The train departed from China's international commodity hub Yiwu in Zhejiang Province on Monday. It will travel for about 18 days and more than 12,000 kilometres before reaching its destination in Britain, the China Railway Corporation said.
Yiwu is known for producing small commodities, and the train mainly carried such goods, including household items, garments, cloth, bags and suitcases. It will pass through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France before arriving in London, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

London is the 15th city in Europe added to China-Europe freight train services. The service will improve China-Britain trade ties, strengthen connectivity with western Europe, while better serving China's Belt and Road Initiative, an infrastructure and trade network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes, the CRC said.
Distance-wise, it beats maritime shipping, and therefore shipping costs should be lower. Hence the attraction for this mode of transportation. So in a little over two weeks' time, containers leaving from the manufacturing hub of Yiwu will reach London.