How will Chongqing play a leading role in promoting the co-construction of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)? In the 1st Belt and Road International Freight Forwarders Conference 2019 held in Chongqing on June 20, over 300 senior managers of international logistics enterprises from more than 40 countries gathered to discuss and share the new development pattern of international multimodal transport, China-Europe Railway Express, and New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor under the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity (CCI-ILSTC).
Wu Jingyu, Director of the Eurasian Land-Bridge International Train Coordination Service Center of China Communication and Transportation Association, said that Chongqing pioneered the China-Europe Railway Express as the vanguard and main force. He also indicated that the BRI at the national level was launched in 2013, and Chongqing, according to its economic development practice, proposed the operation of the China-Europe Railway Express two years before that. The city played an active role in the six commercial corridors of the BRI, setting a good start for the operation of China-Europe Railway Express nationwide.
Data shows that in March 2011, Chongqing opened the first train to Duisburg, Germany via Yuxinou (Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe) International Railway. By April 2019, China-Europe Railway Express has dispatched over 14,000 trains, with 68 routes covering 62 Chinese cities and 51 cities in 15 European countries. It has become the backbone of international logistics land transport for its short transport distance, fast speed, and high safety performance, and it is expected to dispatch about 7,000 trains in 2019.
To play a more prominent role in the BRI construction, it’s also crucial for Chongqing to seek more partners in addition to the operation of the China-Europe Railway Express.
China and Singapore are natural partners for co-building the BRI. Giving full play to Singapore’s platform and channel advantages allows Chongqing to integrate global resource elements better and helps the international economic and trade investment to develop in a diversified manner, to promote the connectivity and international cooperation between Western China and ASEAN countries and even countries along the BRI.
Wu Jingyu said that ILSTC was the development and innovation based on the BRI, and it provided new ideas for Chongqing’s development. However, the capacity of ILSTC is limited despite the promising market. Therefore, he suggested that Chongqing strengthen the construction of highways, railways, and other channels to realize the seamless connection of all links of transport.
Chongqing International Logistics Hub Park has its own ideas about integrating into the construction of the BRI and ILSTC. According to General Manager Gu Yonghong, the park had established operating companies or subsidiaries of ILSTC in Gansu and Guizhou and planned to build a distribution experience center and allocating center for European and ASEAN products.
The European product experience center is the Florentia Village (Chongqing) Outlet Mall built by famous brand Outlets, with a total investment of 1 billion RMB. On the building area of about 140,667 square meters, over 200 European and American International brands and Asian brands will offer an annual average discount as low as 20%. As planned, the first phase of the project will be completed before the end of this year and is expected to open after the Spring Festival.