An international freight railway network is connecting China to cities across Europe, dubbed as the new "Silk Railroad". 2000 years ago, commodities would have taken a year to get from China to Europe along the ancient silk road. But today, consumer goods from China can reach London by rail in just 14 days.
In Yiwu, located in east China’s Zhejiang Province, it once took Europe bound goods two hours by the road just to reach the nearest seaport, followed by a two-month journey across the oceans. But today, a new freight rail link connects Yiwu to Europe along an ancient trade route.
Yiwu railway station - a massive freight terminus, began transporting cargoes overland to Europe in 2014. It’s part of the multi-billion-US-dollar Belt and Road Initiative to boost international trade.
The Yiwu-Madrid railway is the longest rail link in the entire world. It spreads across 13,000-kilometers through France, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan. Along the way, the train transfers three times due to different track gauges in China, Europe, and Russia.
With transfers only taking 1 minute per container, the rail link cut Europe-China transportation time by half and goods now take only three weeks to arrive compared to six weeks by sea. Now, foreign products are more accessible and affordable to the Chinese.