London: The first rail freight service from the UK to China will depart on a 7,500-mile journey from Essex today. 30 containers will carry British goods including whiskey, soft drinks, vitamins and pharmaceuticals, the BBC reported.
The train will travel over 7,500 miles to reach Yiwu, a famed wholesale market town in the eastern province of Zhejiang, 17 days later.
The train will pass through seven countries – France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan – before arriving on April 27.
The service is part of China’s One Belt, One Road programme of reviving the ancient Silk Road trading routes with the West dating back more than 2,000 years.
The first rail freight service in the opposite direction, from China to the UK, arrived three months ago. Former British Prime Minister David Cameron raised some eyebrows with allies by pitching Britain as the pre-eminent gateway to the West for investment from China and proposing to make London the main international trading centre for offshore Yuan.
Prime Minister Theresa May has said the relationship with China remains “golden” as she seeks to bring in billions of dollars in Chinese investment as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.