Chinese freight train arrives into Barking

Freight will arrive from China into London by rail for the first time today as a train of 34 containers pulls into a rail freight terminal in Barking after a journey of over 12,000km that took 18 days.

The train left Yiwu in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejang on New Year’s Day loaded with textiles and consumer goods. A journey of this distance usually takes twice as long by sea.

London is the latest city to be served by a new China to Europe rail link. It is said that 40,000 containers were transported last year along the so called ‘Silk Road’. This number is expected to rise to 100,000 containers by the end of the decade.

Journeys from China into Europe require containers to be unloaded and reloaded multiple times due to changes of gauge, according to rail freight operator Deutsche Bahn. Its subsidiary DB Cargo was responsible for the final section of journey from Duisburg in Germany to the London Eurohub terminal in Barking via the Channel Tunnel.

The train arriving into the UK today was operated by the InterRail Group based in Switzerland on behalf of China Railway subsidiary CRIMT.

China Britain Business Council chief executive Stephen Phillips welcomed the arrival of the train into the UK. “This reflects the strengthening bilateral trade relationship between our countries,” he said. “We look forward to further journeys, especially those that also bring quality UK products to China.”

London’s Deputy Mayor for Business Rajesh Agrawal added: “It is great to see that Barking will serve as a hub for trade and investment between London and China.”