After 16 days, 26 tonnes of frozen pork from the Netherlands arrived in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province earlier this month, the first carried from the Netherlands to China by train.
"Trains can slash about 40 days of shipping time compared to sea, and are about 10,000 yuan (1,450 U.S. dollars) cheaper per tonne compared to air," said Shu Changguo, general manager of the importer.
As China's Belt and Road Initiative gains steam, international trains are becoming a realistic logistical alternative between China and Europe.
Last year, 460 trains ran between Chengdu, Tilburg in the Netherlands, and Nuremberg in Germany. In the first four months of this year, 91 trains to Chengdu have brought about 150 million dollars of European goods.
"The Netherlands is the most important logistical center in Europe, and Chengdu, in China's west, has huge potential, which means great opportunities for European countries," said Koen Sizoo, head of the Netherlands' consulate in neighboring Chongqing Municipality, which has international trains connecting with Duisburg, Germany.
More European countries are using the trains. In a skyscraper in Chengdu, a Polish store has been in operation for about ten months, offering specialties such as jam, condiments, snacks and vodka.
The store is run by Poland's Hatrans Logistics, a partner in Chengdu-Europe trains. The company also runs an online store called Chopin-Deli on JD.com, selling Polish goods.
"Ten years ago, Polish companies barely knew about Chengdu, but since the trains started running four years ago, things have changed," said Natalie Kosana Goldysiak, manager of the store.
Natalie, who is fluent in Polish, English and Chinese, introduces Poland to local government officials and business leaders to Poland every day, as Chengdu is "increasingly important" for Polish companies.
"There will be more areas for cooperation between China and Europe as trains increase," said Koen Sizoo.