THE first ever UK to China export train left this morning laden with containers of British goods.

It is set to make the 7,500 mile, three-week-long journey, departing from DP World London Gateway’s state-of-the-art rail terminal in Corringham, bound for Yiwu in the Zhe Jiang province in eastern China.

Products on board include soft drinks, vitamins, pharmaceuticals and baby products.

This inaugural export train bound for China departed just under three months after the first ever import train from China arrived in the UK.

The service is part of China's One Belt, One Road programme - reviving the ancient Silk Road trading routes to the West.

After passing through the channel tunnel into France and Belgium, the DB Cargo locomotive will call in Duisburg, Germany before InterRail pull the cargo through Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazahkstan before the train crosses to Yiwu, China.

Greg Hands, Minister of State in the Department for International Trade, said: “This new rail link with China is another boost for Global Britain, following the ancient Silk Road trade route to carry British products around the world.

“It shows the huge global demand for quality UK goods and is a great step for DP World’s £1.5bn London Gateway Port as it also welcomes its first regular container ships from Asia.”

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World said: “We are proud to be playing a key role in facilitating this significant trade occasion between the UK and China.

“DP World is a leading enabler of global trade, with its network of marine and inland terminals, industrial zones and logistics and ancillary services to ensure nations all over the world can move goods in, out and inland efficiently and reliably.

“DP World London Gateway, one of the UK’s largest logistics hubs is designed and developed to ensure products can be both imported and exported from the UK via ship or train in a faster, safer and more reliable way than ever before.

“We look forward to enabling and facilitating more trade between the UK, China and the whole world.”

Xubin Feng, Chairman, Yiwu Timex Industrial Investment Co., said: “We are proud to be able to offer the first ever UK to China export train.

“Restoring the ancient Silk Road as a means by which China, North Europe and now the UK can exchange goods is an important and exciting initiative.

“This is the first export train and just the start of a regular direct service between the UK and China. We have great faith in the UK as an export nation and rail provides an excellent alternative for moving large volumes of goods over long distances faster.”