The first train from China’s trading hub of Yiwu arrived in Tehran on 16.2.2016, signalling Iran’s firm integration in the Beijing led-Belt and Road connectivity initiative along the New Silk Road.
The train ferrying 32 containers completed its 14-day journey, covering over 10,399 km, after passing through the arid landscape of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in Central Asia.
The train had demonstrated that it was possible to substantially slash transit time for goods arriving in Iran from China. Compared to the railway option, cargo ships, setting sail from Shangahi take nearly 45 days to arrive at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.
In China, there is anticipation that with the recent lifting of sanctions, Iran’s energy infrastructure, including its trans-border pipeline network, will grow—a move that is likely to further deepen Tehran’s strategic linkages with Eurasia.
Iran is expected to play a crucial role in the Belt and Road as an energy hub and access to extensive delivery routes connecting to the Middle East and Eurasia.