A new rail-to-sea logistics link connecting inland China with Southeast Asian countries opened on the morning of Sept 25 as a train loaded with auto parts and fiberglass products left Chongqing’s Tuanjiecun Railway Station.
The train will arrive at Qinzhou Port in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, where the products will be shuttled on to Singapore and other countries.
Compared with the traditional route via the Yangtze River and Shanghai, the new one will save about 20 days. The two-way train service runs once a week.
In January last year, China and Singapore launched an effort to link western China and Southeast Asia through Chongqing. The southbound passage, which is also participated by Guizhou and Gansu provinces, is a major part of the Sino-Singapore program.
“It is the most convenient way for western provinces to ‘go out’,” said Han Baochang, director of the Bureau of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity. “This passage will enhance the cooperation between inland China and countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.”
The new route will also help relieve heavy traffic on the Yangtze. Shipping volume through the locks at Three Gorges Dam was originally expected to reach capacity of 100 million metric tons per year in 2030. However, the limit was reached in 2011, resulting in long waiting times.
“While logistics costs are cheaper by river than by rail, the new route can save a lot of time, and it provides a good option for our clients,” said Che Dexi, vice-general manager of Minsheng Shipping Co, a Chongqing-based logistics company.