Busy land ports in China’s Xinjiang herald thriving foreign trade
(Photo: China Youth Daily)

A fully-loaded cargo train left the international land port of Urumqi for Kazakhstan on Monday, marking the departure of the 6,500th China-Europe freight train from the land port. Land ports in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region are bustling with activity after the country optimized its COVID-19 response and adjusted entry and exit policies.

Customs officials have been busy checking the documentation of international travelers at the Horgos port, bordering Kazakhstan, since January. Belik Zhanuzakov, a businessman from Kazakhstan, said he had to conduct business online due to the COVID-19 pandemic during the past few years, and he is thrilled about the reopening of the land port. “Now that I can talk to my business partners face to face, I hope our cooperation will be greatly enhanced. Since bilateral relations between the two countries have strengthened, I anticipate that my business will improve,” he said.

The Alataw port, one of the important ports for China-Europe freight trains, has also seen a boom in freight volume since the beginning of this year, with more than 1.11 million tonnes of cargo transported in January, up 12.8 percent year on year. The customs, frontier inspection departments and Kazakhstan’s railway department have strengthened coordination and exchange in an effort to improve the transportation efficiency of China-Europe freight trains, said Guo Hua, who works with the Alataw port.

Inbound and outbound trucks have also been spotted shuttling back and forth at the Bakti port. Ayden, a Kazakh driver, said he would transport grapefruits and fresh color bell peppers to Almaty. “The freshness of agricultural products greatly determines the profit. Therefore, we constantly optimize clearance measures to complete the inspection within half an hour,” said Alimira Nasim, a customs official, as she checked the cargo on Ayden’s truck.

Official data showed inbound and outbound vehicles at the Bakti port exceeded 3,800 in January, an increase of over 156 percent year on year. Imports and exports there soared 125 percent year on year to over 34,106 tonnes. Xinjiang will continue to boost foreign trade, further strengthen logistics and improve the business environment, said Li Kaiyi, an official with the Urumqi Customs, adding that the region will also take advantage of the preferential policies to promote its trade.