China and Russia have started trial runs on a highway that links China’s port city of Dalian with Russia’s third largest city of Novosibirsk. As CGTN’s Xu Xinchen reports.
It’s Shi Junren’s second time driving to Russia. Over the span of five days, he will cover over 5,000 kilometers in his truck.
“We will be moving local goods, such as fruit, from Dalian to Russia, and then move Russian goods back,” he said.
Shi is among a select group of truck drivers that will be the first to use a new route linking China’s Dalian with Russia’s Novosibirsk.
“The 5,500-kilometer road transport route goes through 20 Chinese and Russian cities and borders. The route links the Asia Pacific and Europe, and it could help integrate the Belt and Road Initiative with Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union,” Vice Minister of the Ministry of Transport Liu Xiaoming said.
The Russian Ministry of Transport’s Alexei Dvoinykh agreeed.
“The new route means that Russia and China have common views on the two countries’ cooperation,” he said. “The Russian people are looking forward to more goods from China – great opportunities for Chinese companies.”
Trade volume between China and Russia stood at around $80 billion last year – but the plan is to more than double that amount by 2020. The new Dalian-Novosibirsk route is expected to help achieve that goal, but making it more time efficient is important.
The new route implements the United Nations’ TIR system – which could cut custom clearance time up to 80 percent.
“The goods will be inspected at the origin and only be inspected at the final destination,” Secretary General of the International Road Transport Union Umberto de Pretto said. “I mean, it could go through all the different borders without stopping the truck, without having to open the truck, because it is sealed at the origin and will only be inspected at the final destination. So it’s a huge facilitation advantage.”
Once the first batch of trucks arrives, authorities will assess the trip and make adjustments, if needed, before the road is finally opened.
The new route opens for doors for businesses, but there’s also a human element. Quicker trips mean these drivers can get back to their families that much earlier.