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Infrastructure, cross-border trade platforms bolster China's opening up

Source: Xinhua Updated: 2022-11-23


Photo taken on March 31, 2021 shows a China-Europe freight train (blue) at Suifenhe Railway Port in Suifenhe, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. [Xinhua/Wang Jianwei]

HARBIN -- A freight plane carrying over 40 tonnes of cargo including cross-border e-commerce goods took off from Harbin Taiping International Airport and flew directly to Los Angeles in the United States.

This smooth air cargo service is partly attributable to the constant efforts of recent years to improve cross-border infrastructure in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

With 42 domestic and foreign airlines, 341 routes and 102 destination cities, an air traffic network has been initially formed, with Heilongjiang's capital Harbin serving as the center. The air traffic network can facilitate connectivity between major Chinese cities and countries such as the Republic of Korea and Singapore.

According to the Heilongjiang Airport Management Group Co., Ltd., the company will actively build the Harbin Taiping International Airport into an international air freight base and logistics transit hub for Europe and the North American market.

Apart from transportation infrastructure, e-commerce platforms have also helped boost northeast China's cross-border trade.

Zhong Huanyu, deputy director of the center for foreign trade and cooperation, the Heihe Area of China (Heilongjiang) Pilot Free Trade Zone, said that Heihe City has developed an independent e-commerce platform that can collect integrated cross-border logistics data from different warehouses to improve transit efficiency, reduce costs and optimize consumer experience.

In the first half of 2022, the sales volume of the Heihe cross-border e-commerce livestreaming base alone reached 60 million yuan (about 8.42 million U.S. dollars), showed data. Meanwhile, the city's total import and export value increased by 175 percent year on year.

The rapid development of cross-border e-commerce has greatly alleviated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global trade, said Vice Minister of Commerce Sheng Qiuping during the 2022 China International Fair for Trade in Services.

Echoing Sheng's views, Xu Xiaolan, Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology, said the ministry will optimize the network layout, boost the construction of digital infrastructure and enhance digital governance for the development of digital trade.

The smooth operation of the China-Europe freight train service in Heilongjiang is another important factor that has contributed to the province's booming international trade.

From January to October this year, a total of 730 trains passed through the port of Suifenhe in Heilongjiang on the "eastern corridor" of the China-Europe freight train service, and 67,774 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of goods were delivered, up by 65.5 percent and 68.7 percent respectively, according to the China Railway Harbin Bureau Group Co., Ltd.

The China-Europe freight train service has three main corridors -- western corridor, eastern corridor and middle corridor -- with the Suifenhe and Manzhouli ports located on the eastern corridor.

In July this year, the port handled the most China-Europe freight trains in a single month since the launch of the service.

Harbin Dongjian Group has been exporting large construction equipment to Europe for many years. The company said that it began shipping its products by China-Europe freight trains in 2017, which has greatly shortened the transportation time.

Harbin Customs has now teamed up with local railway authorities to improve the clearance and transportation efficiency, helping facilitate the high-quality development of China-Europe freight train service while ensuring the stability of the international supply chain, said Xu Xiangwei, an official with Harbin Customs.

Thanks to the concerted efforts, in the first 10 months of this year, the import and export value of goods in Heilongjiang totaled about 211.6 billion yuan, up 31.1 percent from the same period last year, according to Harbin Customs.