China, Kaza­khstan feel port’s ben­e­fits

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By CANG WEI in Lianyun­gang, Jiangsu cang­wei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The lo­gis­tics ter­mi­nal in Jiangsu prov­ince’s Lianyun­gang Port, built by China and Kaza­khstan, has served as an im­por­tant plat­form to im­prove eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials.

The first project be­tween China and the coun­tries in­volved in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, the Lianyun­gang lo­gis­tics ter­mi­nal has im­ported and ex­ported 7.77 mil­lion met­ric tons of goods since it went into op­er­a­tion in 2014.

Goods im­ported and ex­ported from Jan­uary to July this year in­creased by 49 per­cent over the same pe­riod last year, ac­cord­ing to the cen­ter.

Wang Qin­min, vice-chair­man of the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence and pres­i­dent of the All China Fed­er­a­tion of In­dus­try and Com­merce, said China and Kaza­khstan have paid great at­ten­tion to bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, deep­ened po­lit­i­cal trust and ex­panded co­op­er­a­tion in many ar­eas since they forged diplo­matic ties 25 years ago.

Wang made the speech at the fifth China-Cen­tral Asia Co­op­er­a­tion Fo­rum, which was held on Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day in Lianyun­gang. More than 200 of­fi­cials from China and Cen­tral Asia, in­clud­ing Uzbek­istan, Ta­jik­istan and Kyr­gyzs­tan, at­tended the fo­rum.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping first pro­posed the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive in 2013. It com­prises the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road, with the aim of build­ing a trade and in­fra­struc­ture net­work that con­nects Asia with Europe and Africa along an­cient trade routes.

The Lianyun­gang lo­gis­tics ter­mi­nal started con­struc­tion soon af­ter the pro­posal emerged, with in­vest­ment in the first phase reach­ing 606 mil­lion yuan ($90.2 mil­lion).

“The Kaza­khstan part­ners didn’t ex­pect that the con­struc­tion could be fin­ished in eight months,” said Liu Bin, gen­eral man­ager of the lo­gis­tics ter­mi­nal. “They thought at least two to three years were needed, con­sid­er­ing the moun­tain­ous en­vi­ron­ment.

“The lo­gis­tics ter­mi­nal started to make a profit the same year it started op­er­a­tions. It serves com­pa­nies of the two coun­tries well.”

Su Yang, man­ager of the ter­mi­nal’s pro­duc­tion busi- ness de­part­ment, said freight trains run­ning from Khor­gos, a city in the Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion near the border with Kaza­khstan, to Al­maty now take just six days.

“It used to take 12 days to trans­port good be­tween the two cities. With the joint ef­fort of the two coun­tries, the trans­porta­tion time and costs have been greatly re­duced,” he said. “The freight trains be­tween Lianyun­gang, Khor­gos and Asian and Euro­pean coun­tries will ben­e­fit the econ­omy, espe- cially com­pa­nies along the route.”

Last year, more than 1,200 trains tran­sited through Kaza­khstan, with rail freight for the two coun­tries reach­ing 8.2 mil­lion tons.

China and Kaza­khstan have agreed to de­velop more in­ter­na­tional freight train ser­vices, start­ing from China and go­ing via Kaza­khstan to Cen­tral Asia, Europe and Gulf coun­tries, mak­ing rail freight a ma­jor so­lu­tion to trade be­tween Asia and Europe by 2025.

GENG YUHE / FOR CHINA DAILY

Con­tain­ers are stacked in the lo­gis­tics ter­mi­nal wait­ing to be shipped in De­cem­ber at Jiangsu prov­ince’s Lianyun­gang Port. The port is the first project of China and coun­tries in­volved in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive to start op­er­at­ing.

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