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Air cargo in Chongqing reaches for the skies

By TAN YINGZI and DENG RUI in Chongqing


China Daily

A ceremony is held at the Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport in Chongqing to mark the launch of a cargo route to Mumbai in early June. [Photo/China Daily]

Chongqing is becoming an increasingly important international logistics hub, with the recent addition of two cargo routes to India improving freight transportation to South Asia.

In early June, a flight loaded with laptops, mechanical parts and aluminum coils departed from Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport for Mumbai, following the opening of a cargo route to New Delhi in May. There are currently 108 international routes available from the airport.

India's SpiceJet Airlines, which operates the route, is planning one flight per week on a Boeing 737-700.

As a traditional inland industrial powerhouse, Chongqing has a strong manufacturing base, especially for high-end products.

Located on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, it has geographical advantages as a strategic pivot in the national development program for western regions, and serves as a connection point for both the Belt and Road Initiative and the Yangtze Economic Belt.

"Geographically, Chongqing is close to South Asia," said He Lu, deputy manager of the international route development department at the Chongqing Airport Group. "Short flight times and low costs are major factors attracting international carriers to Chongqing."

The manager said that although many of the airport's international passenger routes have been suspended due to the pandemic, international freight routes continue to play an important role.

Currently, 17 freight routes from Chongqing to South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe and North America remain in service.

Last year, 221,472 metric tons of cargo and mail transited through Chongqing, an increase of 46.8 percent on 2020, and the airport has placed first in West China for several consecutive years.

"There's a high demand for airfreight to and from Chongqing," said He Junyu, sales manager for SpiceJet Airlines (Chongqing).

"India is one of the city's major export markets for laptops," he said.

Chongqing produces one-third of all laptops made globally. In addition, its automobiles, auto parts, high-end equipment, electronic components and textiles are also popular in India.

According to the Chinese customs department, India's trade with China grew 43.3 percent last year, reaching $125.6 billion.

The Chongqing government plans to turn the city into an inland international logistics hub by 2025 in order to serve as a strategic pivot for the Belt and Road Initiative, the Yangtze River Economic Belt and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, according to its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25).


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