BEIJING, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- The 16th China-ASEAN Expo was held in Nanning during September 21-24. Focusing on the building of a new land-sea channel in western China, the expo offered platforms for policy communication, logistics cooperation, and industrial matchmaking, aiming to promote open cooperation between western China and the Belt and Road countries and shape a new layout of international logistics.
The new channel connects the Silk Road Economic Belt from the north, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road from the south, and is in synergy with the Yangtze River Economic Zone, thus holding an important strategic position in coordinated regional development.
In August, China released an overall plan about the country's new western land-sea transportation channel to deepen the land-sea two-way opening-up and the development of western China.
The new channel is witnessing an ever-expanding network of partnerships, as China’s 13 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities got involved in the new channel construction.
In recent years, Beibu Gulf Port in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has posted fast growth. The port now offers 45 container lines and regular liner to Hong Kong on a daily basis. In January-August this year, the port handled 150 million tons of cargo, with a year-on-year increase of 17.19 percent.
According to the plan, the channel is designed to give full play to its prime location of neighboring Southeast Asia, and support provinces along the channel to strengthen cooperation with Southeast Asia and other regions.
To advance the building of the new channel, a host of major infrastructure projects are well underway in Guangxi.
In terms of sea-railway multi-modal transport, the new channel has realized normal operation, with ever-greater scale of freight transport.
In January-August, Beibu Gulf Port dispatched 1,346 sea-railway trains to Chongqing, Chengdu, Kunming, Guiyang, Lanzhou and other cities on a normal basis, exceeding the total number of 2018.
At China-Vietnam land border, the scale of cargo transport is also growing. "At Youyiguan Port, container traffic on cross-border highway has realized explosive growth. Several years ago, average 300-odd trucks passed the port each day, and now the number is about 1,300. In 2018, about 350,000 standard containers were transported, increasing over 90 percent", Wang Fanghong, chief of the CPC Pingxiang Municipal Committee said.
Guangxi will expand China-IndoChina Peninsula cross-border highway and railway transportation scale, said Jiang Liansheng, director of the regional commerce department, adding that within this year, Pingxiang City will open four international trains to Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia on a regular basis, and meanwhile efforts will be made to realize normal operation of container line in China-Vietnam border, dispatching three trains each week.
In addition, economic and trade exchange via the new channel is being enhanced with the construction of the free trade zone. On August 30, China (Guangxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone was inaugurated. On the day when Qinzhou port section was inaugurated, over 200 enterprises finished business registration, including eight foreign enterprises. Among them, 21 enterprises signed 20 project investment agreements, involving total investment over 30 billion yuan.
On that day, the Chongzuo section of China (Guangxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone issued licenses to six representative enterprises settling there. In the future, a land gateway for the new international land-sea trade corridor will be built.
Feeling satisfied with the prime location of Guangxi, Vietnamese businessman Lu Qiao has engaged in trade of agricultural and sideline products in Guangxi for more than 10 years.
He believes that the new corridor will offer more convenience for inhabitants and businessmen in border areas, and enable closer business ties between ASEAN countries and China.
The establishment of the free trade zone will unleash the development potential of border areas, and as such, Guangxi will become a frontier and window for neighboring countries to expand market in China and enhance their business cooperation with China, said Ge Hongliang, analyst with China-ASEAN Research Center of Guangxi University for Nationalities.
ASEAN countries can expand their presence in Chinese market with Guangxi as a bridge, and then connect with Chinese market and Eurasian market through the new international land-sea trade corridor, Ge also pointed out. (Edited by Yang Yifan, [email protected])