On Monday, the first Silk Road revival train linking China and Iran arrived in the Iranian capital of Tehran, officially marking the start of a new chapter of trade between the two nations.
The train, carrying 32 containers of commercial goods, arrived after a 14-day route from Zhejiang province. It crossed 9,500km through Kazakstan and Turkmenistan, reports China Daily.
That’s 30 days shorter than the usual trip by sea from Shanghai to Iran’s Bandar Abbas port.
The train was met with a ceremony at the Tehran rail station, attended by ambassadors from China and Turkmenistan. “The arrival of this train in less than 14 days is unprecedented,” said the head of Iranian railway company Mohsen Pourseyed Aqayi. “The revival of the Silk Road is crucial for the countries on its route.”
Currently trains are planned to make the route to Iran at least once a month. There are also plans to extend the line to Europe, among other ambitious proposals.
Last month, Xi Jinping blessed Iran with his presence, in what was the first visit by a Chinese president in 14 years. He and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani agreed that economic ties should get real between their countries within the next decade — real in the sense of some $600 billion.
Already, more than a third of Iran’s foreign trade is with China, who is hungriest for its oil exports.
For now, the Tehran ceremony marks a significant step forward in Xi’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative aimed at developing trade across Asia.
Back in business!