Tesco has transported its first products from China to the UK using the Trans-Siberian Railway.
The journey, which takes 26 days, is over 5,700 miles long and crosses eight countries including Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus before reaching its destination, the Tesco Teesside depot.
“With 75 countries across four continents supplying us with everything from bananas to kitchenware, our network of ships, lorries and trains are always on the go,” said Tesco head of global logistics and wholesale operations Alistair Lindsay.
“Each year, more than 65,000 containers arrive at our distribution centres from outside the UK. It takes a global effort to keep everything on track.”
Tesco said rail is the second-most environmentally friendly way to transport good behind sea freight and costs 20% less than transporting by air.
The freight is protected by armed guards along some lines and containers cannot be opened without removing them from the train. All containers are tracked by GPS and monitored for temperature, light and whether they have been opened.
“The new route has opened several more options that will help us to import stock more efficiently,” said Lindsay. “The most important thing is to make sure we have products on the shelves for our customers.”