KARACHI: China and Pakistan launched direct rail and sea freight service, linking southwest China’s inland Yunnan Province and Pakistan’s largest port of Karachi, Chinese Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.
According to the report by the state-run news agency in China, the freight line will cut transport cost by over 50 percent compared with past services.
A cargo train loaded with 500 tonnes of commodities left Kunming, capital of Yunnan, for Karachi on Wednesday, marking the opening of the new route.
“The route helps locals businesses connect with the world market,” a representative from the New Silk Road Yunnan Limited said.
The service is a part of China’s Maritime Silk Road initiative, of which the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC) is an extension.
The CPEC was launched in 2015 to link up north-western China with the Gwadar deep seaport in southern Pakistan.
The two countries already started the trade activities under CPEC in October as over a hundred Chinese containers were transported overland to Gwadar and shipped to Europe and Africa.
Meanwhile, the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the opening of the new direct rail and sea freight service and said it will boost trade between the two countries.
It said that the route will enable Pakistani businessmen and traders to increase trade with China in a more convenient and faster way.—Business Recorder