URUMQI -- A freight train on Saturday left a major logistics center in northwestern Chinese city of Urumqi for Kazakhstan's Almaty on a new route.
Carrying auto parts, clothing, and household goods, the train crossed the China-Kazakhstan border at Xinjiang autonomous region's Horgos instead of Alataw Pass on the old route. Travel time between Urumqi and Almaty is shortened by almost 25 percent to 30 hours.
Nan Jun, a manager with Urumqi Railway Bureau's international logistics company, said the new route also links countries like Iran and Turkey, beyond Central Asia.
Westbound trains from Urumqi have been able to reach Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Poland, and Germany.
Nan said the operation of a logistics hub in Urumqi offers "one-stop" services for freight trains heading westwards from across China.
Xinjiang, bordering Central Asia, is strategically positioned as the country's transport hub on the Silk Road Economic Belt -- as part of the Belt and Road Initiative Chinese leadership proposed in 2013.
Xinjiang handled the passage of 223 freight trains from China to Europe last year and aims to more than double that figure to 500 in 2017.