Southwest China's Chengdu city started freight trains to Belarus on Wednesday, the first of the city's planned 150 freight trains to countries such as Belarus, Russia and Lithuania this year.
The train, carrying 41 containers of auto parts, left the provincial capital of Sichuan Wednesday afternoon and will reach Minsk 12 days later after an over 8,800-km trip.
The auto parts were ordered by Chinese carmaker Geely for its joint venture in Minsk.
Chengdu ran 460 freight trains to cities in Poland, the Netherlands and Germany last year -- more than any other Chinese city. In 2017, the city plans to run 1,000 freight trains to Europe.
Demand for rail freight between China and Europe, an alternative to slower and riskier ocean shipping and much costlier air travel, has exploded in recent years.