The number of China-Europe freight trains travelling through Mongolia increased by well over 50 percent in 2018, benefiting the landlocked country’s economy, a senior foreign ministry official said Saturday.

“The China-Europe freight rail service network is a crucial part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. We believe that the service is a ‘realistic step’ that supports the development of trade and economy of countries along the Belt and Road,” Tuvshintugs Battsetseg, deputy director of the Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, told Xinhua.

“We are happy that the number of the China-Europe freight trains via Mongolia has been dramatically increasing year by year. As the service expands, its contribution to the Mongolian economy has been increasing,” Battsetseg said.

There were 556 China-Europe freight trains travelling through Mongolia in 2017 and the number reached 856 in 2018, according to the official.

“Our country’s relevant departments, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Road and Transport Development, have been paying special attention to creating favourable conditions for China-Europe freight trains for travelling through the Mongolian territory without any obstacles,” she said.