(Yicai Global) May 21 -- The sea-and-rail transit route linking Kunming, capital of China's southwestern province of Yunnan, with island city-state Singapore has begun operations as China looks to extend its Belt and Road Initiative.
A train with 50 containers loaded with chemical fertilizers and coffee beans left Yunnan for Qinzhou port in neighboring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, from where the cargo will be shipped to Singapore and sold in Southeast Asia and North America, state-owned China News Service reported. A 36-container train carrying corn, sorghum, soybeans and stones made the reverse trip the same day.
Qinzhou is already linked with Chongqing in Sichuan province and neighboring municipality Chongqing via the sea-and-rail network. The scheme aims to develop China's southwestern regions and form an integral part of the Belt and Road, a 30- to 40-year master plan devised by Chinese President Xi Jinping to improve trade and infrastructure across Asia, Africa, Europe and South America.
The express train, which takes 27 hours to complete a journey, 12 less than ordinary trains, is a joint effort between China Railway Corp.'s units in Kunming and Nanning, capital of Guangxi. It houses containers which can easily be moved between ships and trains and can cut per-container shipping costs by hundreds of yuan (less than a hundred dollars).
The two China Railway units will offer transport support and station services, while China Railway Container Transport Co. will provide tailored solutions for the sea-and-rail transport network, working in tandem with Singapore's PSA International Pte Ltd., China's COSCO Shipping Lines Co. and other shipping firms.
Editor: James Boynton