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Chongqing as Operation Center Accelerates ILSTC for Opening Up


Chongqing- Despite pressures from the Covid-19 pandemic and complicated economic circumstances, the New International Land-sea Trade Corridor (ILSTC) is gearing up its construction to boost domestic and international development further. 

On May 23, the first international freight train departed from Yuzui Station of Chongqing Guoyuan Port. It will arrive in Mandalay, Myanmar, in fifteen days by highway-railway transport, saving about 20 days compared with the traditional route and reducing the logistics cost by about 20%. This is one of the latest advances of the ILSTC. 


On May 23, the first international freight train departed from Yuzui Station of Chongqing Guoyuan Port. It will arrive in Mandalay, Myanmar, in 15 days. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

Experts said that the ILSTC is highly consistent with the opening-up and development of the western region and the countries along the route. Internally, it is to crack the logistics problems in the western region to help China accelerate the new development pattern’s construction. Externally, it is to create new opportunities for developing countries and regions along the route to maintain the stability of the global supply chain. 

The ILSTC is a new international trade channel jointly built by the western provinces and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. With Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality as the operation center and the western provinces and cities as critical nodes, ILSTC adopts railway, highway, sea transportation, and other transport modes to reach all over the world southward, which is significantly shorter than the time to go to the sea via the eastern region. 

Information about the New International Land-sea Trade Corridor. (iChongqing/ Chen Zhan)

National market demand 

In the ILSTC consumption center in Jiefangbei business district, the center of Chongqing, a series of featured products gathered here from all over the country, known as the unique goods of ILSTC select brands. 

Ningxia wolfberry syrup, Gansu Lily, Xinjiang nuts, Guangxi snail rice noodles, and Guizhou tea are included. “Thanks to this fast new channel to the world, these ‘hidden’ special products now become the new growth point for local foreign trade,” said Wang Yupei, chairman of the New Land-sea Corridor Operation Co., Ltd. 

“Since this year, the ILSTC achieved more than 20 trips of the first train, expanding the number of new logistics lines between Chongqing, Ningxia, Gansu, Hunan, and other ASEAN countries such as Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Thailand,” said Liu Wei, director of the Coordination Center for Logistics and Operation of the ILSTC.

Chongqing transported 37,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) through the ILSTC with 6.3 billion yuan (about 946 million U.S. dollars) from January to April this year, going up 12% and 22.2% year-on-year, respectively. “At the beginning of the corridor in 2017, there was only one line available,” said Liu. “Now the operational routes are rapidly expanding with 319 ports in 107 countries and regions.”


Statistics of the New International Land-sea Trade Corridor. (iChongqing/ Chen Zhan)

Opportunities for countries and regions along the route 

Relying on the ILSTC, the local characteristic products of Southeast Asia can enter the Chinese market more quickly, like Thailand glutinous rice, Malaysia durian, Vietnam Basa fish, and Cambodia bananas. 

“Previously, it took at least 20 days to transport agricultural products from Laos to Chongqing and Sichuan,” said a China-Laos trade company. “Now, it only takes four days for goods to travel from Laos to Chongqing on the ILSTC.”

Based on the current situation, China stimulates the global supply chain with the cooperation of ASEAN countries. “In the future, the western areas will further consolidate the cooperation, improve the infrastructure along the route, optimize the business environment, and expand the channel economy,” said Liu. 


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