A new freight train service connecting Inner Mongolia to Tehran, Iran's capital, will cut shipping times by over half compared to ocean carrier services, according to China’s state-run news agency Xinhua.
The test of the new route started with a train leaving the city of Bayannur in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on May 10, 2018.
It will make an 8,352-kilometre journey through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan before arriving in Tehran 15 days later, shortening transportation time by at least 20 days when compared with ocean shipping options.
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The train will be transporting sunflower seeds from Bayannur city, which is China's biggest regional producer of the product.
Bayannur city exports about 180,000 tonnes of sunflower seeds every year, with 90% of them headed for Middle Eastern, European and US markets.
The city’s export volume has reached a worth of US$ 420 million as its agricultural products link China’s trade to more than 80 countries and regions.