A China-EU freight train departed from Prague, Czech Republic to Yiwu, China on July 19. It is the first among China-EU trains to depart from Europe to China.
The train will travel for about 16 days en route through Poland, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan before reaching Yiwu, in East China's Zhejiang province.
Czech, a landlocked country in Central Europe, boasts of cutting edge industries including machine manufacturing, chemical engineering, glass making and beer brewing. Many investors regard it as a gateway to the EU market.
The train is carrying 41 containers of Czech specialty goods including crystals, auto parts and beer in estimated value worth about 5 million dollars. These high quality goods will be sold in China and to the rest of the world via Yiwu, the largest circulation and distribution center for small commodities in the world.
"The new rail route takes half of the time of sea freight and we can pick goods directly in Yiwu. It is more convenient," said Xu Guozheng, a businessman who sells Czech crystals in Yiwu. "The opening of China-EU line (from Prague to Yiwu) opens up a range of options for transportation", he added.
In the future, many more businessmen like Xu will cooperate with enterprises in Czech and bring more Czech specialties to China.
"This is a silk train, freshening up the China-led Belt and Road Initiative. It is a project linking China and European countries. We have many beautiful visions and will face difficulties together in the process of development. " Czech president Milos Zeman remarked before the train's departure.
The first freight train departing from Prague to Yiwu on the morning of July, 19