China-Italy sauce train turns the tables
If rail freight is all about diversity, then the current cargo load of tomato sauce on its way from China to Naples is surely the best gastronomic twist yet on the New Silk Road.
A new rail service has left Urumqi, capital of China’s Xinjian Uygur region, for the southern Italian city – one widely regarded as one of Europe’s pasta sauce capitals – to make it the latest European destination on the East-West rail axis.
Carrying a cargoload of China’s finest tomato sauce, the train will pass through Horgos Pass before taking a combined sea-rail route, reports Xinuahet, the official Chinese news agency. The 10,500 kilometre journey will last 25 days, less than half the time it would take to travel by sea alone. Since its first China-Europe train in 2016, three such services now leave Urumqi every day.
Over 200 types of products ranging from household goods to mechanical equipment to electronic components are sent to Central Asia and Europe from Xinjiang. Nan Jun, deputy general manager of Xinjiang Xintie International Logistics Company, said that Urumqi plans 1,400 European train trips this year, with more routes and better logistical efficiency.
China’s rail freight volume in January meanwhile totalled 339.6 million tonnes, a 9.4 per cent rise on the previous year’s figure, according to the the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics. Rail freight volumes in December fell 3.8 per cent on 2016, the first fall since July 2016.