China and Pakistan have launched a direct rail and sea freight service, with the first cargo train departing from Yunnan, an inland province in southwest China.
A cargo train loaded with 500 tonnes of commodities left Kunming, capital of Yunnan, for Karachi on Wednesday, marking the opening of the new route, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
"The route helps locals businesses connect with the world market," a representative from the New Silk Road Yunnan Limited said.
The new rail, sea freight will cut logistics cost, including that of transport, by 50 per cent compared to past services, the news agency reported.
The service is part of China's Maritime Silk Road initiative, of which the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project is an extension.
Pakistan and China kicked off first trade activities under CPEC in October as over a hundred Chinese containers arrived at the Sust port in Hunza, following clearance from customs. The containers were headed to Gwadar sea port, in Balochistan province of Pakistan.