The China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) was pleased to welcome the arrival of the first freight train from China to arrive in the UK at the Barking Rail Freight Terminal in East London on 18 January.
CBBC hosted a celebratory reception to mark the arrival at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London, which was attended by dignitaries including the Mayor of the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham and representatives from the Chinese Embassy. Partners and representatives from across the retail, e-commerce and consumer sectors also attended.
This is a significant milestone in the development of UK-China trade cooperation as it connects London to the New Silk Route and China’s broader One Belt One Road initiative, making it the 15th European city to do so following the establishment of other successful China-Europe rail links. The journey began on 1 January and covered 12,000 miles over 18 days, carrying a cargo of clothes, bags and other household items. The journey also covered countries such as Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France.
Stephen Phillips, chief executive of the China-Britain Business Council, said: “CBBC welcomes the arrival of the first freight train from China to the UK, reflecting the increasingly strong bilateral trade relationship between our countries. This arrival signifies London’s connection to the New Silk Route and One Belt One Road initiative and we look forward to further journeys that enhance this connection and contribute to overall UK-China trade and investment.”
Rajesh Agrawal, London’s deputy mayor for business, said: “London is a truly global city that is open to trade, investment and collaboration with the rest of the world. The arrival of the first freight train from China shows that London is a leading destination for Chinese businesses, offering firms access to markets, expertise and capital, as well as an entry point to the West.
“Sadiq Khan has pledged to be London’s most pro-business Mayor and, working together, we will promote economic prosperity across the capital. It is great to see that Barking will serve as a hub for trade and investment between London and China.”
Councillor Darren Rodwell, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, said: “This is great news for the borough and London. It’s a sign of Barking and Dagenham being at the epicentre of the capital’s eastward shift. You could say it’s the rising east meets the Far East.”