Business / Economy

Maiden rail freight service leaves Dalian with goods for Russia

By Zhong Nan and Zhang Xiaomin (China Daily) Updated: 2016-01-28 11:25

A giant "block train" left Dalian in Northeast China's Liaoning province on Wednesday morning, headed for the first time to Kaluga in Russia.

The new international freight service was carrying 100 standard containers packed with goods produced by Samsung Electronics Co, which had arrived at Dalian Port from South Korea.

The train is expected to take half as long as a conventional maritime service to reach its destination. It will arrive at Manzhouli, a Chinese border city in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, on Thursday.

Officials said the departure marked the launch of a new international logistics channel jointly developed by China, South Korea and Russia, which will help diversify regional trade and multi-model transportation.

Dou Guangpeng, deputy-general manager of Dalian Jiyi Logistics Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Dalian Port Group Co, said even though the cost of the new sea-rail service is similar to just maritime, it takes 20 days fewer to deliver goods to destinations in either Russia or Europe.

It is claimed that other major companies, including Daimler AG, LG Electronics, Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co, are already lined up to use the service.

Dalian Port now plans to build three more such "sea-rail channels" to allow direct connections to Europe.

"The port will not only connect with Pusan Port in South Korea, but other major ports including those in South Korea, in Japan, and some Southeast Asian countries, to deliver this multi-model transportation service," said Dou.

Considered Northeast China's cross-border frontier entry point, Dalian Port deals with 90 percent of the region's foreign trade goods.

It services 107 domestic and international shipping lines that connect with some 320 major ports around the world. The port handled in excess of 440 million metric tons of goods last year.

Lee June-young, executive vice-president at Samsung's procurement team for visual display products, said South Korea is promoting its own Eurasia Initiative-similar to China's Belt and Road Initiative-to encourage mass entrepreneurship and seek new growth markets overseas.

The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, is a trade and infrastructure network that includes the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The planned network connects Asia, Europe and Africa and passes through more than 60 countries and regions.

"With more products and parts expected to be shipped to Russia and Europe through this route, South Korean companies can seek investment opportunities and be more inclined to establish regional headquarters, branches and manufacturing facilities in both China and Europe," said Lee.

Alexey Laptev, deputy governor of Russia's Kaluga regional government, said the new route will help the city become a major logistics center, and that his office is in talks with a number of European countries to further extend the route to other foreign markets.

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