DB Schenker has launched a weekly rail freight service between Hams Hall and Padova in north-east Italy.
The service is expected to take 42 hours, which the operator reckons is 24 hours quicker than possible by road.
This is on top of the company’s two trains per week running from Birmingham to Milan. It said it would mainly be exporting food stuffs and merchandise, and importing foods and drink.
Alain Thauvette, chief executive of DB Schenker Rail (UK), said customers would benefit from reduced costs, improved service reliability over traditional rail and intermodal routes and a reduction in carbon emissions.
The company is also offering a door to door collection and delivery service, and has timetabled a link between Birmingham and Glasgow.