(Yicai Global) Sept. 4 -- A regular container train service connecting China's eastern coastal city of Weihai with Germany's Hamburg is operational.
Its first train departed Weihai rail station at 10.58 a.m. on Saturday, China News Service reported.
The weekly service will start in Weihai and make its way to Hamburg via Erenhot in Inner Mongolia, Mongolia, Russia, Belarus and Poland. The 11,000-kilometer journey lasts 15 to 18 days, about 10 days shorter than going by sea and 80 percent cheaper than traveling by air.
The route will initially be able to move a maximum of 280 standard containers per month and will be able to bring Europe 14,000 standard containers a month in the future.
The train service will help local businesses in Shandong province penetrate markets along the Belt and Road, said Zhang Zhicheng, head of customs in Weihai. Given the city's existing trade links with Japan and South Korea, the train will serve as a part of an express rail-sea intermodal freight transport network connecting East Asia, Central Asia and Europe, he said.