Japanese and Chinese logistics firms are paving the way for an alternative route to ship cargo from Japan to Europe faster than by sea by exploiting China's "Belt and Road" initiative designed to improve regional cooperation and connectivity.

Major Japanese logistics firm Nissin Corp. and Sinotrans, China's largest integrated logistics service provider, joined hands this summer to undertake a sea-and-rail shipment trial from the Far East to Western Europe via China and Central Asia.

The trial aims to build a new option besides sea and air transport between the two regions, with cargo from Yokohama, Japan's second-largest port, taking 28 days to reach Hamburg,Germany, about a week less than marine transport.