Get ready for the most exciting trade development of the year! The transport and manufacturing hubs in Central China's Henan Province and Moscow have just unveiled their first cross-border road freight line. This revolutionary new route promises to connect the two places like never before, with companies tapping into the potential of booming China-Russia trade.
The truck service is a much-needed supplement for the China-Europe freight train, which has been running at full capacity amid rising trade flows, according to industry insiders. Monday's launch sets an example for similar cargo lines to be opened in response to vigorous market demand. Thanks to the TIR-based global road transportation system, which China implemented in June 2019, vehicles with TIR certificates can now cross borders between member countries in a simple and hassle-free manner. So far, 77 countries have joined this system, according to media reports. Compared to air, sea, and rail transport, the TIR system can save up to 58 percent of the transportation time and 38 percent of the costs, the reports said.
Zhengzhou Hongyi Transport, a logistics company in charge of the delivery of the first batch of goods, has scrambled to deal with rising orders, mostly home appliances, which are piled up until May. After departing from Zhengzhou on Monday, the first truck, which will bypass the China-Russia border port at Manzhouli in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, is due to arrive in Moscow in eight days after a 9,800-kilometer journey, an employee with the company told the Global Times. Some value-added goods, such as handsets made in East China's Yiwu, are being delivered by truck, the Global Times learned.
Industry insiders said the TIR line is a good supplement to the current options, particularly the China-Europe freight train. Zhang Tianbang, general manager of Zhengzhou Huanhang International Freight Co., who participated in the launch, is excited about the new transport service since there is a growing need for diversified options. Since the first China-Europe freight train was dispatched in July 2013, over 7,000 trains have run from Zhengzhou to Europe as of Sunday, serving more than 12,000 trade companies, a historic high. While the China-Europe freight train is gaining popularity and a wider reach, the new TIR truck service enables faster delivery, the insider said.
For example, the truck takes around 10 days to reach Central Asian countries and less than 12 days to reach Moscow, compared with around 16 days for a similar journey by train, Zhang said.
Given the high demand for the China-Europe freight train, one has to wait until March 10 for the earliest delivery, while the truck line, as a fairly new service, can be booked faster, Zhang said.
Vigorous demand for Chinese daily commodities, driven by the fast development of cross-border e-commerce, has bolstered exports to Russia, Song Kui, president of the Contemporary China-Russia Regional Economy Research Institute, told the Global Times on Monday.
In 2022, China-Russia trade exceeded $190 billion, a year-on-year growth of 29.3 percent. Chinese exports to Russia amounted to $76.12 billion, jumping by 12.8 percent year-on-year, data from the General Administration of Customs showed. Russian Ambassador to China Igor Morgulov said recently during an interview with RIA that he expects trade between China and Russia this year to exceed $200 billion. This new cross-border road freight line will further promote bilateral trade between the two countries and is a good supplement to the current options available. Song Kui expects that more TIR transport lines will soon open, enabling faster.
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