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China-Russia railway transport booms amid pandemic

Updated: 2021-02-02

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The Chongqing-Manzhouli-Russia freight railway, which was opened in 2014, had operated 2,680 trips between Southwest China's Chongqing municipality and Russia by the end of 2020.

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic, global sea and air transportation has been severely impacted. Despite this, the Chongqing-Manzhouli-Russia freight railway has succeeded due to its numerous advantages, including fast transport times, low logistics costs, large capacity, and zero-contact, safe and high-efficiency shipping system. The trains are also environmentally friendly.

Shipping goods via the freight railway is as fast as eight days between Chongqing and Russia, compared with two months via water transportation, allowing more products with a short shelf life to be exported.

In 2020, the Chongqing-Manzhouli-Russia freight railway operated 1,355 trains – more than 50 percent of the total trains that have run the route since 2014.

It also successfully operated the first test train for transporting frozen chicken feet from Russia to China and exported China's fruits to Russia with cold-chain transportation in 2020.

Currently, the main goods exported to Russia via the freight railway are auto parts, machinery parts and articles of daily use, and the primary goods imported to China are bulk cargo and agricultural products such as meat and sunflower oil.

According to Chongqing Customs, Chongqing's trade value with Russia was 8.81 billion yuan ($1.36 billion) in 2020, increasing 39.9 percent year-on-year. Among the trade value, 6.90 billion yuan was export value, with a year-on-year increase of 31.3 percent, and 1.91 billion yuan was import value, rising 83 percent year-on-year.

In the future, the freight railway will further explore the Russian market to allow more featured Russian products to be imported to West China.

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