China opens new rail & road cargo service linking Tibet and Nepal
China has launched a new rail and road cargo service linking Guangdong, Tibet and Nepal.
The new cargo service aims to boost trade with the South Asian neighbours as China pushes ahead with its Belt and Road initiative.
The first train departed from the Tibetan border port of Gyirong en route to Kathmandu carrying goods worth USD 2.8 million, including shoes, clothes, hats, furniture, appliances, electronics and building materials.
The first leg of the service covers the 5,200-kilometre distance between Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, and Xigaze in Tibet.
Trucks then haul the cargo over the remaining 870 kilometres of the journey, carrying goods to Gyirong and then to the final stop in Kathmandu, Nepal.
This is the first such consignment to be sent to Nepal after the new Prachanda government took over from pro-China predecessor K P Sharma Oli, who signed the transit trade deal with Beijing this March in an effort to reduce Nepal's dependency on India.
"The trip between Guangzhou and Gyirong takes about five to six days, much shorter than the 20 days for sea transport," said general manager Yao Yanfeng of freight carrier Tibet Tianzhi Import and Export Company Ltimited.
Yao said his company is providing relatively quick delivery service and, despite higher costs, it can meet demand for time-sensitive shipments.
"In the slower winter season, the train and trucks will make a round-trip every one or two weeks. In the busy season next year, there will be two to three per week and, eventually, we're aiming for four to five trips per week," Yao said.
To further facilitate trade, China is planning to build a railway between Xigaze and Gyirong to shorten the trip. The nation also plans to extend the railway later to India and other South Asian countries to promote trade.
Tag Keyword: China , Rail Cargo , Road Cargo , Tibet , Import & Export