TBILISI, Georgia

The first train carrying goods from Turkey to China has arrived in Akhalkalaki in southern Georgia, authorities said on Wednesday.

The train will cover a distance of 8,693 kilometers (over 5,400 miles) as it travels across Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea, and Kazakhstan to reach China, read a statement by Georgia’s Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.

It said the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line is an important part of the logistical corridor connecting Europe to Asia.

“We have witnessed a historic moment,” said Natia Turnova, Georgia’s minister of economy and sustainable development.

The train, which set off from Istanbul on Dec. 4, “will follow the Trans Caspian East-West Middle Corridor via Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway … passing two continents, two seas, five countries and forwarding its freight to China in 12 days,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement last week.

Its journey includes 2,323 kilometers (over 1,440 miles) in Turkey, 220 kilometers (some 135 miles) in Georgia, 430 kilometers (over 265 miles) in Azerbaijan, 420 kilometers (some 260 miles) across the Caspian Sea, 3,200 kilometers (nearly 1,990 miles) in Kazakhstan, and 2,100 kilometers (over 1,300 miles) in China.

* Writing by Ahmet Gencturk​​​​​​​

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