ANKARA, JAN 29 – Freight trains carrying exports to Russia and China departed on Friday from Turkey’s capital Ankara. Though trains had traveled this route to China before, this is the first time that exports are being hauled from Turkey to Russia via rail, Turkish Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu stressed during an event at the train station.
The train en route to Russia is carrying major appliances on 15 wagons and 15 containers for the 4,650-kilometer (2,889 miles) distance, Karaismailoglu said.
The other is carrying 1,000 tons of the mineral boron in 42 containers to China via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, he added.
Turkey sent its first export train to China on Dec. 19, 2020.
Karaismailoglu underlined the importance for Turkey of China’s Belt and Road initiative, which aims to create a network of transportation infrastructure between China, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
He said Turkey has become the most strategic point of this project, also known as the “Iron Silk Road.”
With the project, the transit time between Turkey and China decreased to 12 days from 30 days, he added.
Karaismailoglu also noted that the transit time between China and Europe had also fallen to around 18 days via Turkey’s sub-sea tunnel Marmaray.