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China opens new rail route to CIS
July 1, 2018, 10:58 am

While Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping have met numerous times, both their countries have boosted cultural exchange and trade in recent years [PPIO]

The opening of a new freight train route between China and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a continuing sign of efforts by both regions to deepen their communication and transportation ties, officials have said.

On Sunday, the China Railway Guangzhou Group opened a new freight train line connecting the city of Huaihua in Hunan Province in central China to the Belarus capital Minsk.

An inaugural freight train of some 41 cars carrying various export items had already embarked on the 11,155 kilometer route on Friday. It is expected to arrive in Minsk on July 14.

This new route is expected to shave off a full two weeks of transportation time compared to travel through a sea route.

Just over a year ago, a similar route linking Russia’s Perm with Golmud in Qaidam Basin, northwest China’s Qinghai Province also began service.

That train traveled through China Alataw Pass in Xinjiang, and via Kazakhstan before reaching Perm, a Russian industrial city of a million people.

The trip covered about 6,360 kilometers and took 10 days. Officials said transporting goods by train is about a month faster than by ship.

The new freight routes are also part of China’s New Silk Road plan.

President Xi Jinping has championed what China formally calls the “One Belt, One Road” or OBOR, initiative to build a new Silk Road linking Asia, Africa and Europe, a landmark program to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects including railways, ports and power grids.

Beijing’s top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has previously said that 69 countries, from Ukraine to South Korea, have signed cooperation agreements with China on the joint development of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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