The first Luxembourg-Chengdu freight train starts at a cargo train station in Dudelange, Luxembourg, April 4, 2019. (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong)
A new railway line for freight trains between Luxembourg and the city of Chengdu in China was launched here on Thursday, with the first train loaded with 41 containers on its way to China.
The 40-foot containers were filled with mechanical and electrical products, food and medical equipment as well as other imports from around Europe. The train is expected to reach the international railway station of Qingbaijiang in Chengdu in 15 days after passing through Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan.
Freight trains are expected to travel the new route at least weekly once it is fully operational, representing the growing trading links and connectivity between China and Europe under the Belt and Road initiative.
At the ceremony to mark the official launch of this new railway line, Luxembourg's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Felix Braz said: "Luxembourg, with its geographic location anchored in the heart of Europe, is ideal to act as a logistic hub and provide rapid and reliable connections for Western Europe to the rest of the world."
"With an industry focused on high quality and cutting edge technology, this new railway line is the perfect way to for us to enhance efficient logistics solutions in our trade with China," he added.
Deputy Mayor of Chengdu Liu Xiaoliu, was present at the ceremony with Yin Li, governor of Sichuan Province, where Chengdu is the capital city.
According to the deputy mayor, since the start of the first China-Europe freight train from Chengdu in 2013, over 3,000 trips have been successfully made, and in the process, new freight train connections have been established with more than 20 European cities.
"This clearly shows that the Belt and Road Initiative has made a great contribution to the connection of trade and people, and in the process, Chengdu is increasingly opening up to the world," said Liu.
Both China and Luxembourg have committed to improving direct train operations between the countries and bringing more high-quality "made in China" goods into Luxembourg.