freight train-based cross-border trade kicks things up a notch
A China-Europe freight train departs from Xi’an, Shaanxi province, for Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Aug 11. (Photo by Yuan Jingzhi/For China Daily)

A freight train carrying cross-border e-commerce cargo departed from Alataw Pass in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region to Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital, on Sunday, which is the first train journey of this kind since China approved setting up more cross-border e-commerce pilot zones in 27 cities and regions in February.

The train carried 5.59 million yuan ($885,500) worth of goods, such as accessories for solar energy, fabrics, textile products and kitchen supplies from Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.

Alataw Pass sees the most China-Europe freight train lines pass through in China, and it has been favored by cross-border e-commerce companies that plan to export westward.

As of Feb 26, Alataw Pass had facilitated the export of cross-border e-commerce parcels worth about 1.6 billion yuan since the port launched cross-border e-commerce business in January 2020.

In addition, Customs at Alataw Pass have simplified declaration procedures and provide 24-hour reservation services to improve clearance efficiency. The port has also launched a road-rail transit service to shorten delivery times.

The State Council, the country’s Cabinet, has approved the establishment of more cross-border e-commerce pilot zones in 27 cities and regions in February, as the nation seeks to stabilize foreign trade and investments.

The new pilot zones, including those in Alataw Pass and Yangzhou in Jiangsu province, will replicate and advance the experience gathered from the previous five batches of pilot zones, said a statement released by the State Council.

The move has brought the overall tally of pilot zones to 132, covering almost all provincial-level regions in China from coastal industrial powerhouses such as Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces to inland areas.