The train link between Antwerp and China forms part of China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI), in which the Chinese want to breath fresh live into the trade along the old Silk Road.
The train left the Chinese port of Tangshan on 26 April, travelling through Kazakhstan, Belarus, Poland and Germany to reach its final destination in Antwerp. The freight train travelled a distance of 11,000 kilometres in 16 days.
“This direct rail link puts our port on the BRI map and will strengthen our existing links with China still further”, Mr Arnouts added.
The Chinese hope to run between 1 and 2 direct trains to Antwerp. The authorities in Tangshan City also hope to strengthen their ties with the Port of Antwerp.
The Antwerp Alderman responsible for the port Marc Van Peel told Metro that “China is Antwerp’s fourth biggest partner country and good for 14 million tonnes per annum. Antwerp is well positioned on both the maritime and rail route between Europe and China and can function perfect as a transshipping port for trade between China and Africa via the rail link”.