The agriculture minister on Sunday observed the departure of the first train carrying rice and rubber from Rayong to Chengdu in southwest China, saying a trip on the new route will take only about five days, faster than by sea.
Thamanat Prompow, minister of agriculture and agricultural cooperatives, attended a ceremonial launch of the first Chengdu-bound goods train at Map Ta Phut station in the eastern province of Rayong at about noon on Sunday.
The minister said the service should boost the export of farm and consumer products from the country to Chengdu, from where they could be further transported to the European Union and Russia on China's Belt and Road network.
Mr Thamanat said that initially the train service would be for Thai rice and rubber, but officials would visit China next month to arrange for other produce exports including fresh and dried longan.
A train from Map Ta Phut would take half a day to reach Nong Khai province and another four days to arrive in Chengdu, the minister said. "It would take longer by sea," he added.