Twenty shipping containers are being transported from Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province to the southern city of Shanghai via a port in Russia in early September, making international delivery more convenient for China's domestic trade for the first time.
After going through customs formalities in Mudanjiang Customs, US$416,000 worth of art paper and cigarette inner lining paper exited the Chinese territory at Suifenhe Customs Port on September 12 and were transported to the port city of Vladiovostok of the Russian Federation, where the goods were then shipped to Shanghai.
Located in Northeast China, Heilongjiang Province is the terminal of China's railway system. Large amounts of materials and industrial products need to be transported to other parts of China, but the railway transportation capacity there is quite limited.
Meanwhile, although shipping could relieve the pressure on the railway network, enterprises in Heilongjiang have to transport grain, coal, oil, and other industrial products to the port cities of Dalian or Tianjin since Heilongjiang is an inland province.
To improve the transportation ability of this province, the provincial government proposed a plan to the State Council about establishing a "golden passage", namely the "land-sea coordinated transport passage".
After going through formalities in Heilongjiang Province's Mudanjiang Customs, goods are sent to the border city Suifenhe, where they are transported to Russian port cities in the east like Vladiovostok and Nakhodka.
The distance from Mudanjiang to Vladiovostok is about 400km, which means it is at least 800km closer than that from Mudanjiang to Dalian, a port city in Liaoning Province. Meanwhile, according to the plan, with the Vladiovostok as a trans-shipment port, this new passage is much more convenient and time-saving to export the products from China's northeastern provinces to other neighbouring Asian countries like Japan and South Korea.
Currently, the "golden passage" is just a single way line and the government is now trying to open a double line, which means containers full of goods from south China could also be transported to northeast China through this "land-sea coordinated transport passage".
An official in charge of trade and investment in Mudanjiang said at a press conference last Saturday that the double way "golden passage" could cut the cost for transportation by 30 percent, compared with the Mudanjiang-Dalian/Tianjin-Shanghai transportation line. The double-way line is expected to be opened next year.
The "land-sea coordinated transport passage" will surely tighten economic ties between China's Heilongjiang Province and Primorsky Krai of Russia so as to speed up the movement of materials in the whole Northeast Asian Economic Circle which includes China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Mudanjiang, the economic center of southeast Heilongjiang, is a well-known industrial city in north China and may serve as the logistic and distribution center of Heilongjiang Province in the future, with the predicted annual handling capacity of 400,000 TEUs (20-foot Equivalent Units).
(China Daily September 23, 2008)