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Chongqing Embraces the World via Multi-modal Transportation

By RAN ZHENGICHONGQING|May 27,2022

The Yangtze River rushes down from the Tibetan Plateau, running from west to east through Chongqing, a transportation hub of southwestern China, and then joins the Jialing River to flow into the sea. The unfavorable geographical conditions did not shackle the city or its residents but gave them the courage to hew out their path on rivers and oceans.

Connecting the world with a port

“I have been working here since graduation. I grew up with Guoyuan Port,” said He Yi, a young employee of Chongqing Guoyuan Port Co., Ltd. At first, he worked as a stock clerk, then got promoted to Deputy Manager of the Railway Operations Department and then to Director of Discipline Inspection and Audit Department. He now serves as the Director of Administration Office and Manager of Logistics Department.

With the joint efforts of employees like Mr. He, Guoyuan Port has grown from a port with only four rubber-tired gantry cranes and two yards to the only port-type national logistics hub in western China and an international freight station.

Cargo ships are heading to Guoyuan Port.

Cargo ships are heading to Guoyuan Port. (iChongqing file photo)

Chromium iron from Jiuquan, Gansu Province, arrives at Guoyuan Port by railway and heads to Southeast Asia via the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (ILSTC).

Guoyuan Port also welcomes electronic devices, clothes, and other products made in Vietnam, including Samsung and Decathlon. These products will then take China Railway Express (Chengdu-Chongqing) to Europe.

Electromechanical equipment, automobiles, and other goods made in Chongqing are transported to ports in eastern China through the Yangtze River golden waterway.

The year 2021 saw the maturity of Guoyuan Port’s international multimodal transportation, with outstanding economic performance. It handled 20.9 million tons of cargo, a 40.6% growth rate year-on-year. The container throughput expanded 56.3% year on year to 526,500 TEUs. 395 China-Europe freight trains and 267 ILSTC trains departed from Guoyuan Port, up by 71% and 323%, respectively, from the previous year.

Chongqing Guoyuan Port showed outstanding economic performance in 2021.

Chongqing Guoyuan Port showed outstanding economic performance in 2021. (iChongqing/Zheng Ran)

Corridor connecting land and sea

ILSTC functions as a vital engine to help Chongqing and Western China achieve higher-level opening-up.

As early as 2020, ILSTC’s edges have become prominent. “With the ILSTC, we can buy fresh and cheap fruits in Southeast Asia. The costs have been reduced by nearly 30%,” said Chen Xiangzeng, Sales Director of Chongqing Hongjiu Fruit Co., Ltd.

Two years passed in the blink of an eye, and Chongqing now enjoys more smooth exchanges with Southeast Asia. On March 26, the first China-Vietnam international freight train of the ILSTC departed from Guoyuan Port to Hanoi, Vietnam. On April 7, another outbound international rail-sea freight train from China’s Yangtze River to Indo-China Peninsula left Guoyuan Port for Myanmar.

As of the first quarter of 2022, ILSTC (Guoyuan Port) has recorded 388 departures. 19,992 TEUs of goods have been transported, worth 2.4 billion yuan (about 360 million U.S. dollars).

Now, the ILSTC covers 316 ports in 107 countries (regions). China Railway Express (Chengdu-Chongqing) has 33 stable operation routes, covering 71 cities in 26 countries.

Enterprises are expanding international markets

Chongqing’s enterprises are expanding international markets through international channels.

As Chongqing’s automobile industry hub, Liangjiang New Area embraces ten automobile manufacturers led by Changan Automobile and more than 200 core component manufacturers. In 2021, Changan Automobile sold 110 thousand automobiles overseas, smashing the previous records. Sales in the Belt and Road markets accounted for nearly 90%.

In April 2022, Changan Automobile unveiled C385, the first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell sedan in China. It could realize full charge within three minutes. Chongqing Kairui Power Technology Co., Ltd., also located in Liangjiang New Area, is another outstanding enterprise in this field.

“We have developed such products as the hydrogen circulation pump, the hydrogen pressure regulator, and the vehicle-mounted hydrogen management system (HMS),” introduced Chen Qiang, Chairman of Chongqing Kairui Power Technology. The hydrogen pressure regulator’s life expectancy reaches eight years, even longer than many foreign products.

Chang'an Ford's production line of Lincoln automobiles

Changan Ford’s production line of Lincoln automobiles. (iChongqing file photo)

Chongqing is actively developing the Belt and Road, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Western Development Strategy, Yangtze River Economic Belt, and Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle. The city owns such strategic platforms as China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity (CCI), pilot free trade zones, Liangjiang New Area, and Western (Chongqing) Science City. Besides, there are three national economic and technological development zones, four high-tech zones, six comprehensive bonded zones, four bonded logistics centers, and four open ports.

Over the past, more than 100 years since Chongqing opened its ports for trade, generations of local people have maintained their resilient, tenacious, open-minded, inclusive, and brave spirits. Their enthusiasm is like the boiling hot pot and the endless river. With initiative and courage, they keep breaking new ground.

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