Li Haitao, the Vice Governor of China’s Heilongjiang Province, which shares a border along the Amur River with Russia, has said the two countries will sign an agreement on the long awaited Primorye-1 International Transport Corridor.
“During the ‘One Belt, One Road’ forum, the relevant governmental departments of China and Russia will sign an agreement on cooperation on the Primorye-1 international transport corridor,” Li said at a pre event press conference in Beijing.
Two corridors have in fact been developed, Primorye-1 and Primorye-2. These are expected to encourage trade and investment in the Russian Far East, as the improved transportation infrastructure will significantly increase cargo transit from China to the Russian port city of Vladivostok.
Primorye-1 will handle cargo via Vladivostok bound for the West coast of the United States and Europe, while Primorye-2 will handle regional traffic between China and Russia and through to Korea and Japan.
The proposition is extremely attractive to Heilongjiang manufacturers, as it is landlocked and lacks a developed route to access the Asia-Pacific. In fact, the Primorye-1 route has already tested operations. A joint venture between Russia’s Vostochnaya Stevedoring Company (part of the Global Ports group) with Heilongjiang Sea Land Channel International Logistics have already transported 250 TEU’s of sawn timber for markets in Italy.
The Primorye-2 corridor has also been tested, with an experimental shipment of test cargo from China to Korea. Russia’s Far East Investment and Export Agency is studying test transportation of cargo from China to Russia, says the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East.
Leonid Petukhov, Director General of the Agency, says the Primorye-2 test container left Changchun (China) for Húnchūn (China) on April 10 this year. Then after crossing the state border via the checkpoint in Kraskino it came to port Zarubino (Primorsky Territory) from where it was dispatched by a ferry for the Republic of Korea.
A major beneficiary of this will be Vladivostok, which has already begun wooing Chinese gamblers with casinos and which already benefits from a visa scheme that allows foreigners fast track eight day visa access to the city.
Chris Devonshire-Ellis of Dezan Shira & Associates comments “Russia and China are opening up the North-East Asian seaboard, which has special implications for the future of North Korea. In addition, it opens up further possibilities for joint operations between the two countries in terms of adding value to Russia and Siberia’s vast resources for markets in the US and Europe. The Russia-China trade corridor is developing fast and will be a major player by the end of the next decade.’
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