The China Railway Express, also known as the China-Europe Freight Train, marked its 10,000th trip since its launch in 2011 this week, demonstrating the success of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative.
The freight train returned to Wuhan in the Chinese province of Hubei on August 27 after a two-week journey from Hamburg, Germany.
Just 17 trains made the journey in the service's first year of operation in 2011, a number which increased to 42 in 2012, 80 in 2013 and 308 by 2013.
Read more about China's maritime and economic policies with a Port Technology technical paper
In 2017, 3,673 freight trains travelled along it, and more than 2,490 have done so already in the first half of 2018, a 69% increase on the same time 12 months ago.
The service connects 65 rail routes between Asia and Europe, in doing so linking 48 Chinese cities to 42 cities in Europe as part of the BRI, a $900 billion project to increase global trade and supply chain efficiency.
As part of the BRI, China has invested in logistics and infrastructure projects across Asia and East Africa, including the Djibouti International Free Trade Zone (DIFTZ).
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