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Construction Begins on Tibet's Biggest Logistics Center

Authorities in Tibet started building the region's biggest logistics center on Friday in a bid to further exploit the potential of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway that opened a year ago and boost the region's economic development.

The logistics center, covering 533 hectares, is located next to a railway station at an altitude of 4,500 meters in Nagqu Township of Nagqu County in northern Tibet.

It is scheduled to be finished within 15 months, costing almost 1.5 billion yuan (US$200 million), according to Hao Peng, executive vice chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The center is expected to handle 2.23 million tons of cargo by 2015 and 3.1 million by 2020, including raw minerals, local herbs, construction materials and commodity goods.

"The northern part of Tibet is rich in natural resources, and the Nagqu logistics center will provide easier access to the resources, which will drive the industrial development and trade in the area and raise its self-development capabilities," said Lu Chunfang, vice minister of railways, at Friday's inauguration ceremony.

Dunzhu, a local herdsman, told Xinhua that she supported the idea.

"To me, it means that I have access to more commodity goods my family needs, and easier ways to sell our dairy goods," she said.

The 1,956-km-long Qinghai-Tibet Railway opened on July 1 last year has linked Tibet with the rest of China by train for the first time.

Tibet's gross domestic product (GDP) posted a 14.7-percent growth to reach 14 billion yuan (US$1.84 billion) in the first half of this year, the highest over the past decade, according to the Tibet Regional Statistics Bureau.

Thanks to the opening of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the tertiary industry, which features the consumption market and service industry, has developed fast in the past year, the bureau said.

(Xinhua News Agency September 29, 2007)

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