URUMQI, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- A China-Europe freight train carrying 36 containers of auto parts, engineering equipment, and daily necessities left Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Friday.
The train will travel through Xinjiang's Alataw Pass and stop at a port in Kazakhstan where the containers will be transferred to ships which are bound for Baku, capital of Azerbaijan.
This new rail-ship route was jointly launched by railway authorities of Xinjiang and Kazakhstan, and opens quicker access to connect China with Central Asia, West Asia and Europe.
According to the Xinjiang railway bureau, the 4,186-kilometer journey will take eight days, less than one-third of travel time via rail alone.
"The rail-ship route can save logistics time and increase the added value of our export products," said Liu Chang, general manager of a Shanghai-based global trade company.
"Urumqi plans to send 1,400 China-Europe trains in 2018, further improving connectivity with Central Asian and European cities," said Nan Jun, vice general manager of Xinjiang Xintie International Logistics Company.
The number of China-Europe freight train trips reached a new high of more than 3,000 last year, and is expected to reach 4,000 this year, according to China Railway Corporation.