Letting the train take the strain is the thinking behind a new cargo transport service just launched from China to Germany.
The idea is to save time. The journey takes around 16 days. That is half the length of time a cargo ship takes to make the trip by sea.
The route, from Zhengzhou in central China, through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland to Hamburg, is just over 10,000 kilometres.
This week saw the first of six such freight train services planned for this year.
It was carrying 51 containers; on board were 665 tonnes of goods including tyres, shoes and clothes .
Next year, it is planned to increase the number of freight trains on the route to 50.