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Jilin province proposes more transport links across region
Zhong Nan and Liu Mingtai in Changchun(China Daily) Updated: 2015-09-03

Jilin province proposes more transport links across region

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Eager to enhance its earning ability from regional trade, Northeast China's Jilin province plans to open more air, sea and rail links with neighboring countries to put its economic growth on a firmer footing.

Wang Shouchen, deputy director of the Jilin Provincial People's Congress, said Jilin is preparing to launch international freight train services from Changchun, the provincial capital, to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia and major Russian cities over the next three years.

"Air cargo services from Changchun Longjia International Airport to capitals or major cities of Russia, Mongolia and Japan will be available soon to ship high-end and high-tech products to consumers and manufacturers on both sides," Wang said.

Located in the Northeast Asia region, Jilin has a geographical advantage to developing its modern logistics industry. It has 16 China-Russia and China-DPRK border ports, two international airports and two inland railway ports.

From the border village of Fangchuan in Hunchun, it is only 15 kilometers to the Sea of Japan. The mouth of the Tumen River into the Sea of Japan is the closest point from China to Russia, the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, Japan and North America.

The province also plans to work with selected ports in Russia and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to develop shorter maritime routes to ship goods to Europe via the Northeast Passage in the Arctic Ocean.

It is planned that custom-designed cargo ships carrying Chinese goods will leave Russia's Zarubino Harbor or Rajin Port in the DPRK on a one-month journey to Europe through the Northeast Passage. This route could cut shipping times between Northeast Asia and European ports by about one-third.

There are three main shipping passages across the Arctic region - the Northeast Passage, the Northwest Passage and the Central Route. As the ice melts, the Northeast Passage opens from the end of July for four months or more, while the Central Route is open from the end of August for one month or more.

With its mature equipment manufacturing industry and technical advantages, Jilin is one of China's major industrial bases and the automobile sector is its pillar industry. Changchun-based First Automotive Works Group sold 3.08 million vehicles in 2014, accounting for 13.1 percent of China's total auto sales.

Official data shows that Jilin's foreign trade rose by 2.1 percent on a year-on-year basis in 2014. Foreign direct investment into the province also increased by 13.1 percent.

The province has developed more than 10 large logistics parks, such as the Changchun Xinglong Free Trade Zone. Manufacturers, warehouse developers and delivery companies including Zhejiang Transfar, Global Logistic Properties and SF Express have built warehouses and logistics facilities in the province.

Jilin province proposes more transport links across region

Zhou Jianping, director of the department of northeast region revitalization of the National Development and Reform Commission, said downward pressure on Northeast China increased from 2014 until early 2015, affected by the declining global economy and overcapacity.

"The slow Northeastern economy was caused by old systems and mechanisms," Zhou said. "Seeking new market growth points from the fast-growing service sector, including logistics and e-commerce businesses, can certainly help Jilin, Liaoning and Heilongjiang to optimize their resources to improve exports, as well as creating more jobs and attracting foreign investment."

Cai Jin, vice-president of the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, said without any major negative external factors, foreign trade volume in Jilin and the entire Northeastern region is projected to experience relatively steady growth in the second half of the year.

"Even though it is helpful to improve Jilin's economy through building a logistics network within the Northeast Asia region, logistics and e-commerce companies in China should be aware that they have been focusing overwhelmingly on expanding their export channels," Cai said.

"It would also be profitable to establish more overseas logistics facilities and sorting centers to operate import businesses to China, while the market still has less competition and demand is fairly high."

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