Packages can now travel from Beijing to Moscow by rail following the launch of the first Russia-China railroad delivery service, the logistics branch of Russian Railways announced Monday.
"Up to the present, international mail was delivered to Russia by air and by road only," Russian Railways Logistics said in a statement. The service was organized on behalf of state postal service Russian Post.
Mail will be shipped along the century-old Trans-Siberian Railway, the longest railway line in the world, which runs from Moscow to Russia's Far East and then on via connecting branches to China, Mongolia and North Korea.
The very first package shipped from China arrived in Moscow last Thursday, the statement said. The service could ultimately transport more than 50,000 tons of mail a year, a spokesman for Russian Railways Logistics told the TASS news agency.
The service follows from a strategic cooperation agreement signed by Russian Railways and Chinese Railways on May 20, 2014 — one of a raft of agreements closed between Moscow and Beijing in a landmark push toward tighter economic ties.
Moving packages by railroad will lower transportation costs and allow cargo to be delivered door to door in the same container, eliminating excess operations, the statement said.
The two state railway lines have also pledged to increase cargo traffic by reducing delivery times, improving infrastructure and streamlining transportation and border crossing procedures.