China and Russia capitals connected on New Silk Road for first time


On Thursday 16 March, the first freight train departed between the Chinese capital Beijing and that of Russia – Moscow. It marked the start of a new service of the China-Europe Railway Express, connecting the capitals of the befriended countries.

A total of 55 40-foot containers were loaded on the new China-Europe train. The route chosen is to exit China at the Manzhouli border crossing to enter Russia, and then go west all the way to Moscow. The goods transported are auto parts, building materials, home appliances, fabrics, clothing, home furnishing, etc. The entire route of this operation is about 9,000 kilometers, and the estimated transit time is about 18 days.

Why Beijing?

The China Railway Express was originally launched in Chongqing, and then began to depart from other Chinese, mostly inland cities, such as Chengdu, Xi’an, and Lanzhou. In the more than ten years of operation, other cities have gradually joined the China Railway Express, such as the newly opened China Railway Express hub in Shenyang.

Although most of these cities are in the western part of the populated east of China, Beijing is located in the east. One may wonder what brought China to launch a train from this capital city now, and not earlier on. Industry insiders believe that it is more of a political gesture. The China-Europe Railway Express between Beijing and Moscow reflects the increasing trade and transportation flow between China and Russia, and also shows subtle geopolitical changes in the logistics landscape.

This article was originally published on, our Chinese sister publication.

Author: Chengfan Zhao

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