First train from China to Iran stimulates Silk Road revival

Iranian officials applaud on the platform as the first train connecting China and Iran arrives at Tehran Railway Station on February 15, 2016 (Photo courtesy: AFP)
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By INE Wire Services

Tehran–First cargo train from China to Iran arrived in Tehran on Monday, indicating a milestone in reviving the “Silk Road”, which has opened a new chapter of win-win cooperation between China and Iran.

The train, also referred to as Silk Road train, passed through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Iran, travelling a distance of 10,399 kms. It had left Yiwu city in east China’s Zhejiang province on January 28, Xinhua reported.

The ancient ‘Silk Road’ is back in business as new train connects China to Tehran (Photo courtesy: AFP)
The ancient ‘Silk Road’ is back in business as new train connects China to Tehran (Photo courtesy: AFP)

This train was carrying dozens of cargo containers, according to the deputy of Iran’s Road and Urbanism Minister Mohsen Pour-Aqaei, who made a welcome speech after the arrival of the cargo train at Tehran Train Station on Monday.

Ancient Silk Road trade route had served as an important bridge for East-West trade and brought a close link between the Chinese and Persian civilisations.

The “Belt and Road” initiative was raised by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, which refers to the New Silk Road Economic Belt, linking China with Europe through Central and Western Asia, and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, connecting China with Southeast Asian countries, Africa and Europe.

“To revive the Silk Road Economic Belt, the launch of the train is an important move, since about 700 kms of trip has been done per day,” said Pour-Aqaei, who was present at the welcome ceremony of the train in Tehran’s railway station.

“Compared to the sea voyage of the cargo ships from China’s Shanghai city to Iran’s Bandar Abbas port city, the travel time of the train was 30 days shorter,” he said.

Pour-Aqaei, also the managing director of Iran’s Railway Company, added that according to the plan, there would be one such trip from China to Iran every month.

The travel of cargo train from China to Iran is part of a Chinese initiative to revive the ancient Silk Road used by the traders to commute between Europe and East Asia.

Tehran will not be the final destination of these kinds of trains from China, the Iranian deputy minister said, adding that in the future, the train will reach Europe.

This will benefit Iran as the transit course for the cargo trains from the east Asia to Europe, he said.

Chinese ambassador to Iran Pang Sen said that as one of the cooperation projects after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Iran, the cargo train is playing a important role to promote construction of the “Belt and Road” initiative.

Meanwhile, the railway line from Yiwu to Tehran provides the two countries an express and efficient cargo trade transportation method, Pang said, adding that the countries along the railway line will further upgrade rail technology with the aim to make its transportation ability faster and better.



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