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Pakistan, China start direct rail and freight service

In this photograph taken on November 13, 2016, Pakistani Naval personnel stand guard near a ship carrying containers at the Gwadar port, some 700 km west of Karachi, during the opening ceremony of a pilot trade programme between Pakistan and China. The two countries on Thursday launched a direct rail and sea freight service with the first cargo train departing from China’s south-western Yunnan province’s Kunming for Karachi.   | Photo Credit: AFP

China and Pakistan on Thursday launched a direct rail and sea freight service with the first cargo train departing from China’s south-western Yunnan province.

The service was launched with the first cargo train loaded with 500 tonnes of commodities left Kunming, capital of Yunnan, an inland province in south-west China departed for Karachi, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

“China, Pakistan launch direct rail & sea freight service between Kunming and Karachi, cutting transport cost by over 50 per cent,” according to a tweet by the news agency.

Part of Maritime Silk Road

The service is a part of China’s Maritime Silk Road initiative, of which $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC) is a part.

The CPEC was launched in 2015 to link up north-western China with the Gwadar deep seaport in southern Pakistan.

The two countries already started the trade activities under CPEC in October as over a hundred Chinese containers were transported overland to Gwadar and shipped to Europe and Africa.

Will boost trade: Karachi Chamber

Meanwhile, the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the opening of the new direct rail and sea freight service and said it will boost trade between the two countries.

It has said that the route will enable Pakistani businessmen and traders to increase trade with China in a more convenient and faster way. “It will also help China connect with the world market,” the Chamber said.

The service will cut logistics cost, including that of transport, by 50 per cent.

Pakistan and China kicked off first trade activities under CPEC in October as over a hundred Chinese containers arrived at the Sust port in Hunza, following clearance from Pakistani customs. The containers were headed to Gwadar.


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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 2:19:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Pakistan-China-start-direct-rail-and-freight-service/article16737060.ece

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