With a long whistle, a train loaded with clothing and small commodities chugged out of a station in east China's Zhejiang Province on May 13, heading for Madrid.
Departing from the manufacturing city of Yiwu, it was the 1,000th freight train linking China and Europe this year.
From Jan. 1 to May 13 this year, the number of Sino-European freight trains has increased by 612, or 158 percent, compared with the same period last year, according to China Railway Corp.
"Freight train services are safe, convenient and environmentally friendly," said Yang Xingqiang, general manager of supply chain operator Geodis (China).
Geodis is one of the service's major clients. Yang told Xinhua that they have always conducted trade between China and Europe. "The train provides a new option in addition to shipping and air transport, cutting our logistics costs by 30 percent," he said.
More cargo is being carried from China to Europe, from electronic devices and small commodities to automobile parts, furniture, machinery and textiles, while the trains return with products such as wine from Spain, milk from Poland, rose essential oil from Bulgaria and cars from Germany.
China currently has 51 Sino-European freight train routes, with trains from 28 Chinese cities travelling to 29 cities in 11 European countries, including 15 cities added just this year.