Turkey has celebrated on November 6, the arrival of China Railway Express train, crossing Istanbul’s Marmaray subsea tunnel. The train started his journey from Xi’an, passing through Ankara, with Prague as the final destination.
The ceremony was attended by representatives of the governments of Turkey, China, Azerbaijan, as well as foreign railway and transport companies.
“The launch of the Xi’an-Ankara-Prague train proves the demand for the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route in the logistics market, as well as the prospect of developing this corridor in European directions. The fact that, for the first time, a container train crosses the Marmaray underwater railway tunnel under the Bosphorus Strait, makes it historical”, Sauat Mynbayev, the CEO of KTZ said.
The 820-m China Railway Express train, consisting of 42 forty-foot containers carrying electronics, covers a distance of 11,483 km within 12 days, passing through 10 countries and two seas along the route.
The train followed the territory of Kazakhstan for 72 hours and was dispatched from the port of Aktau, Kazakhstan, on a feeder vessel through the Caspian Sea along the TITR route.
“The trade volume between Europe and Asia has a value of USD 21 trillion, and this train service became an important link ensuring freight flows between the continents. The Iron Silk Road, which benefits approximately 5 billion people and 60 countries, has become a new and very important alternative for global trade networks,” Turkey’s Infrastructure Minister, Cahit Turhan, said.
The route, which has been in operation since October 30, 2017, has reduced cargo transport time between China and Turkey from a month to 12 days.
Kazakhstan and Turkey together with Azerbaijan and Georgia created the multimodal Trans-Caspian bridge, providing the shortest exit of cargo flows from China, Central Asia, Russia, through Siberia, to Turkey and the Mediterranean region.
The new train service is implemented under the One Belt – One Road initiative.