History was made on Saturday afternoon, as the first ever train to run from China directly to Latvia completed its journey initiating the first time a regular direct freight route has ever ran between China and the Baltic states.

The train left the city of Yiwu south of Shanghai on the 20th October and made its way across the whole of Russia before eventually reaching its destination in Riga, covering 11,000 miles in the process over the course of 17 days.

84 containers of commemorative souvenirs and decorative items were distributed between Germany, Poland and Scandinavia during the first delivery from China, which was carried out by China Railway Express, a company that specialises in running direct freight services between the far east and far west of Asia.

“Every success story begins with an idea to try” the Latvian Minister of Transport, Uldis Augulis, told the gathering crowds at Riga Station. “China and Latvia made a decision to try something unprecedented, and now it has been realised. A lot of hard work has been put into it.”

In July, it was decided to make Latvia a ‘Gateway to Europe’ when Uldis Augulis visited China, and we have now had a chance to see this vision in action. Politicians from both China and Latvia were both present for the grand unveiling of this service, clearly proud of what they had created and put into action, and they both happily agreed to cut the red ribbon with golden scissors.

So in what is an important breakthrough with this new European freight service, we have once again seen an example of the constantly improving transport links worldwide. In the words of the Deputy Head of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, He Lifeng, this has created a “new organisation model of international cargo transport.”