The Belt and Road Initiative has connected a train service between the Chinese city of Dalian and the cargo port at Bratislava — the capital city of Slovakia.
Goods worth over US$3 million in 41 containers reached the end of the line on November 13, 2017, after traveling 17 days through Central Europe via Russia and Ukraine.
It is the start of a new weekly service that will increase to twice a week in the second half of 2018.
The Chinese Communications-Transport Association has estimated that 500 trains will travel along the 11,000-kilometre route next year.
In 2020, China plans to dispatch 5,000 such trains a year, of which around 2,000 might cross Slovakia.
The Port of Bratislava is a major inland port on the river Danube and on the Rhine-Main-Danube waterway in Bratislava.
Solvakia's new trade route joins more links in the China-Europe supply chain as the first ever UK to China export train departed in April from DP World London Gateway’s rail terminal in South Essex.
Read a technical paper from Olaf Merk explaining China's One Belt, One Road policy and related recommendations for European policy-makers
In an interview featured in The Slovak Spectator, Dana Meager, Solvakia's State Secretary for Finance and Government Proxy for the Silk Road initiative, said: “Rail transport from China to Europe via Slovakia so far has proven that this route is not only fast but also safe.
“I view the Silk Road project as one of the most important pillars for the further development of Slovakia’s national economy.”