Milan takes fast train to China

Freight train from Milan to Chengdu launchMilan became the latest European city to join up to China’s Belt and Road initiative last week when a train laden with industrial machinery, furniture and ceramic tiles was serenaded by a local band as it pulled out of Milano Centrale on the maiden journey of an 11,000 km, 14-day service to Chengdu which will see it pass through Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, cutting the best part of a month off the alternative ocean route between the two cities via the Suez Canal.
Its departure came a week after a delegation of academics and officials from the Politecnico di Milano attended a ceremony at Tsinghua University to mark the launch of a design innovation hub that is to be based on the Italian university’s Bovisa Campus.
Tsingua - Milan design Innovation hubIt will be Tsinghua University’s first education and research base in Europe and will, according to Cao Guoying from China’s Ministry of Science and Technology who also attended the launch, drive commercial and industrial cooperation between China and Italy as well as academic and people-to-people exchange.
“Italy enjoys the world’s most resourceful talent pool in creative design, while demand for creative design in China is rising as the country undergoes rapid economic growth and industrial structural reform,” he said. In 2016, the value of Italian exports to China amounted to $12.2bn or 2.6% of its overall total:

1. Machinery: $3.8bn
2. Vehicles: $1.1bn
3. Pharmaceuticals: $593.1m
4. Medical, technical equipment: $583.9m
5. Electronic equipment: $556m
6. Clothing (not knit or crochet): $431.9m
7. Furniture, lighting, signs: $407.7m
8. Plastics: $403m
9. Leather, animal gut articles: $307.5m
10. Raw hides excluding furskins: $293.4m
 
Source: Interfax