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Qingdao playing big role in international transport

By Di Fang in Qingdao, Shandong | | Updated: 2024-06-14 20:02
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Visitors check out an exhibition hall at the China-Shanghai Cooperation Organization Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Area in Qingdao, Shandong province, in May 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

A truck operating under the TIR transport initiative recently traveled from the Customs area of the China-Shanghai Cooperation Organization Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Area (SCODA) in Qingdao, Shandong province, to Moscow, Russia, completing the trip in just seven days.

TIR stands for Transports Internationaux Routiers, or International Road Transports. It is an international customs transit system designed to help save time and money for transportation operators and customs authorities as goods are shipped across borders.

Over 60 trips have been completed since the inception of the TIR route between SCODA and Moscow last year, according to SCODA's administrative committee.

The rapid growth of TIR highlights the significant role SCODA plays in the development of international logistics corridors and promoting interconnection among countries that are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

"Six years on, SCODA has leveraged its prominent transportation advantage and has become a gateway for the Asia-Pacific region, linking Japan and South Korea to the east, Eurasian areas to the west, Mongolia and Russia to the north and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to the south," said Chen Wansheng, deputy secretary-general of the Qingdao government, at a news conference held by the city's information office on Friday.

As a logistics hub, SCODA was granted the United Nations Code for Trade and Transport Locations — commonly known as the UN/LOCODE — by the UN Center for Trade and Facilitation and Electronics Business as "CNJZH". It has been recognized as a national-level logistics hub for commerce and trade services, according to Chen.

Currently, SCODA has 32 lines on which China-Europe freight trains operate, connecting 54 cities across 23 SCO- and Belt and Road Initiative-member countries.

"The China-Europe freight trains have made over 3,200 trips, making Qingdao one of the top 10 cities in terms of this freight service," Chen added.

Its global transportation role is further enhanced by its proximity to Qingdao Jiaodong International Airport, which connects to 146 domestic and international cities, and Qingdao Port, which serves SCO-related countries via 42 shipping lines.

Besides its increasing role as a logistics hub, SCODA has substantially contributed to modern trade, international investment and cultural exchanges. Official data shows that the total value of its imports and exports made over the past six years stands at 21.34 billion yuan ($2.93 billion).

"Focusing on key areas such as the industrial internet and high-end equipment, SCODA has enhanced industrial cooperation with SCO and BRI countries," Chen said.

To date, SCODA has helped companies in Qingdao invest a total of $3.52 billion to fund 232 projects in countries such as Russia and Kazakhstan, according to official data.

"To achieve the pursue high-quality development of SCODA, Qingdao will make more efforts on reform and innovation and introduce institutional systems to coordinate international economic and trade rules and common appeals from SCO countries," said Han Xingang, deputy director of the reform office of the CPC Qingdao municipal committee.

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