Horgos Port in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region saw off its first freight train carrying Japan-made vehicles bound for Kazakhstan over the weekend, said local customs.
A total of 220 vehicles from Japan arrived in the port city of Dalian via sea transportation and then switched to rail to travel westward to Kazakhstan, marking the launch of a new route that is twice as fast as the route through the Mediterranean Sea, according to Horgos Customs.
Departing from Horgos on the China-Kazakhstan border on Sunday, it was also the first westbound train carrying complete vehicles via a port in Xinjiang, the customs said.
The cargo train consists of 29 carriages, loaded with 133 Toyota vehicles and 87 Lexus vehicles. Customs clearance took just 30 minutes.
Japanese vehicles used to cross the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea to reach Russia before being distributed to Kazakhstan -- an 80-day journey. By comparison, a trip on the new route takes approximately 30 days, said Li Xuefeng, manager of Horgos Bobao International Freight Agency Co., Ltd.
Despite the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the number of China-Europe freight trains traveling via Horgos Port hit a record high of 4,722 last year.
The port has been increasingly favored by westward trains due to its geographical proximity to major Central Asian and European cities as well as local government support and convenient customs clearance policies.