Freight train service from Bayannur city in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to Tehran, Iran's capital, was launched Thursday morning.
The train, carrying 1,150 tonnes of sunflower seeds, will travel 8,352 kilometers through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, arriving in Tehran in 15 days, said Chen Bo, deputy manager of the Hohhot office of China Railway.
The new train route will shorten transportation time by at least 20 days compared with ocean shipping.
Bayannur city is China' biggest sunflower seed production area. The city exports about 180,000 tonnes of sunflower seeds every year, with 90 percent of them headed for Middle Eastern, European and U.S. markets.
Agricultural products from the city have been exported to more than 80 countries and regions, and its export volume has reached 420 million U.S. dollars.