Turkey is a strategically located country that serves as a critical point between Asia and Europe. It has raised interest in those establishing railway links, bringing together China and European countries. Turkey has been recognized as a significant player in the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). As a result, there are more and more rail freight services from China to Turkey available. Check more about Rail freight to Turkey from China.
Rail freight to Turkey – China-Kars
An important line was launched in 2017. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway line overall engages not only Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, but also China and other Asian countries. The transit tie is less than three weeks. It also extends to European countries all the way to the UK. For two years since its launch, the link carried 275,000 tons of freight.
Since 2016, a cargo train route linking Chengdu to the economic, cultural, and historic center of Turkey, Istanbul, operates. The train passes Xinjiang Huoerguosi port, Baku, Aktau, Poti, and other stations in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and several countries, to arrive at Istanbul. The travel time is around 15 to 17 days.
At the end of 2015, a service launched between Lianyungang and Istanbul. Have gone through some improvements, the route was re-launched in 2018. The train goes along the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (Middle Corridor) through Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. The transit time is approximately 18 days, and the rail link reduces the travel by around two weeks compared to the sea route. The train service was scheduled to run at least three times a month.
In 2019, the first China Railway Express line train reached Turkey. The train crosses into Europe through Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Istanbul’s Marmaray, a subsea tunnel, reaching a railway station in Zeytinburnu, Istanbul. The tunnel is 13,5 km long. The travel time between China and Turkey has been reduced from a month to just 12 days, thanks to the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway line. The train reaches Prague via Bulgaria, Hungary, and Slovakia.
As of 2020, another intercontinental link was established between China and Turkey. AP Moller-Maersk launched its first rail service that connects Xi’an and the port of Izmit in Turkey. The new route is a part of the Maersk Intercontinental Rail (ICR) service network. It aims to shorten transit time between China and Turkey of up to 16 days. The rail service provides customers with more network options, as there are multiple drop-off locations. From Izmit, the cargo can be transited further into Europe: to the Black Sea, Eastern Europe, and Southern European countries. The direct train service is provided once a week or more, depending on the demand for service. Izmit has benefited from a strategic location, as well as from the improved Tukey’s rail infrastructure.
To Turkey from China – China-Turkey links importance
Undoubtedly, Turkey holds an essential role in the economic and social development of the geographies of both Asia and Europe. The key points on the map are the Turkish Kars, Ankara, and Istanbul. The Middle Corridor that runs from China to Turkey, provides an alternative gateway to Europe. Thanks to the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, the journey time from China to Turkey and Europe has decreased significantly. It is said that the Iron Silk Road alone benefits around 5 billion people and 60 countries.
Read about rail freight from China to Belgium.