Regional Focus

  • Containers being transhipped in the Kazakh town of Dostyk.

03.03.2016 By: Rüdiger Frisch

Artikel Nummer: 13566

Transported twice as fast

The first-ever container blocktrain between the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu and Teheran set off at the end of January. Despite the impressive overall distance of 10,300 km, the route is covered in just 14 days – half the time it would take the goods to arrive by ship.

Railfreight operations are becoming ever-more attractive worldwide, a fact that has once again been illustrated by a new direct connection between Yiwu, in eastern ­China, and Teheran. The initiative for this new rail option between the metropolis in the Chinese province of Zhejiang and the Iranian capital was launched by Switzerland’s InterRail corporation on 31 January.


The train crossed China, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and reached the ­Iranian border in just ten days, from where it was but a short hop to the capital. It arrive there on 15 February. The transport thus took roughly 14 days, cutting the usual transit time in half, according to InterRail.


The importance of this new overland connection to the Chinese as well as the Iranian side of the link is illustrated by the fact that the departure of the first train was accompanied by an official cere­mony, ­attended by the mayor of Yiwu, represen­tatives from the Iranian embassy in ­Beijing and delegates from the Chinese and ­Kazakh railway enterprises.

An even shorter route

In future trains heading for Iran will cross the frontier at the new Turkmen-Iranian border crossing at Incheh Borun. This will further shorten the route and cut transit times, InterRail added. The deployment of new transport technology and the submission of advance information electronically for customs and border autho­rities also speeds up the process.