The train carried 41 containers loaded with goods including electronics, clothing and LED lighting and completed the 11,300km trip in 15 days, operating via Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, and Germany.

Three trains per week will operate between Wuhan and Lyon, with one weekly return working, which is expected to carry French goods including cars, wine and agricultural products for the Chinese market.

Another new service began operating on April 14 between Dongguan in China's southern Guangdong province and Duisburg in Germany. The first train is carrying furniture, home appliances and machinery, and is travelling via Russia, Belarus and Poland. The 13,000km journey is expected to take 19 days, 15 days shorter than the equivalent sea voyage.

A weekly service will operate on this route with westbound trains leaving Dongguan on Thursdays.