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Freight links with Russia expanded further

By Zhang Xiaomin | China Daily | Updated: 2018-05-19 11:26

Four trucks each carrying 12 to 15 metric tons of fruits and two cross-border buses carrying dozens of passengers started their journey from Northeast China's Dalian, Liaoning province, on Friday toward Russia's Novosibirsk, marking the official launch of TIR, the global customs transit system, in China.

"The Dalian-Novosibirsk route is currently China's longest international road transport route, connecting 19 cities of both countries," said Liu Xiaoming, vice-minister of the Ministry of Transport.

It is the first international road transport route that has commenced trial operations after China joined the TIR Convention in 2016, an international system that significantly reduces the time and cost of crossing borders.

The vehicles are expected to reach Novosibirsk on May 26, traveling 5,500 kilometers - 1,800 km in China and 3,700 km in Russia.

Liu said the new route will promote the effective integration of China's Belt and Road Initiative with the Euroasian Economic Union as well as economic and trade exchanges between the two countries.

Umberto de Pretto, secretary-general of the International Road Transport Union, said the new route for international trade between China and Russia will encourage participation by other economies along the Silk Road Economic Belt.

Two Chinese transport companies and a Russian company participated in the first operations of the new route.

On Thursday, they signed agreements at the Bangchuidao Hotel in Dalian for the trial operation of Dalian-Novosibirsk international road freight and passenger transport. Equipped with cold chain technology, they will mainly transport Dalian's fruits to Novosibirsk and bring back cold drinks.

"It is door-to-door transportation. The trucks can drive to the gate of local supermarkets. It's more convenient than train transport," said Liu Shaobo, general manager of Heilongjiang Longyun Group. Due to different railway track standards in the two countries, train transport takes longer and costs more, he said.

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