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New China-Myanmar Railway Route Launched to Strengthen Connectivity with ASEAN

By VIVIAN YAN|May 25,2022

Chongqing- As a new China-Myanmar channel, the first international freight train linking Chongqing and Lincang in southwestern China with Myanmar set off from the Yuzui Station in Liangjiang New Area on May 23.

The new route is expected to strengthen Chongqing's connectivity with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) members, said Ba Chuanjiang, Director of the Port and Logistics Office of Chongqing Municipal People's Government.

The successful opening of this train will further optimize the international logistics mode and route in the inland areas of western China to many ports in the Middle East and Europe.

The Chongqing-Lincang-Mandalay freight  train awaits departure in Chongqing on Monday. (Photo/ China Daily)

20 days shorter with a lower cost

The train is loaded with 60 TEUs of machinery equipment, electronic components, auto and motorcycle parts, and other goods, which will leave China through the port of Lincang in Yunnan Province and arrive in Mandalay, Myanmar, through the combined road-rail transportation.

The entire route is 2,000 kilometers starting from Chongqing, passing Lincang and the Mengding-Chinshwehaw border gate to Mandalay. The delivery time is 15 days, which is 20 days shorter than the traditional route, and the logistics cost can be lowered by 20 percent. 

Relying on the new China-Myanmar corridor, the successful operation of the new route opens another logistics path for exports from Chongqing and neighboring regions, as products can reach Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia through the seaport of Mandalay, according to Yuxinou (Chongqing) Logistics Co., Ltd., a local rail logistics company operating the China Railway Express (Yuxinou) (Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe) Railway.

Chongqing will further promote the integration and development of other transportation methods from the metropolis to Myanmar, while the returning train from Myanmar to Chongqing could be loaded with products from Myanmar and other Southeast Asian countries, said Xi Dan, manager of Yuxinou (Chongqing) Logistics Co., Ltd.

Connection with ASEAN members

Myanmar is an important hub connecting China and the ASEAN, serving as one of the key connecting points of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Silk Road Economic Belt.

Like other landlocked regions in the west of the country, logistical problems held Chongqing back for hundreds of years. In recent years, the municipality on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River has invested heavily in its transportation infrastructure and has become an international trade and logistics hub.

Ba believes that the new China-Myanmar corridor connects the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle and has opened up another logistics path for the New International Land-sea Trade Corridor (ILSTC).

"It will boost the interconnection between the China-Myanmar Corridor, the China Railway Express to Europe, and the Yangtze River Golden Waterway, and help Chongqing play a role in the Belt and Road and the connection point of the Yangtze River Economic Belt," said Ba.

The new route comes as China and ASEAN members are bolstering logistics connectivity after the launch of the China-Laos Railway, a major project under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, in December 2021. The railway has seen significant passenger and freight transportation, underscoring the booming trade between China and ASEAN. As of earlier this month, the China-Laos Railway had handled more than 2.7 million passenger trips and 2.9 million metric tons of cargo since it opened, according to official data.

The first export train for China’s motorcycle to Laos through the China-Laos Railway of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor was departed on January 17.

The first export train for China's motorcycle to Laos through the China-Laos Railway of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor departed on January 17. (Photo/ ILSTC)

(Wang Yuxuan, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)

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