Construction of the Nizhneleninskoye-Tongjiang railway bridge is expected to be completed this year, together with other cross border infrastructure programs aimed at enhancing Russia’s connectivity with China, Central Europe, and Central Asia, according to senior officials of northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province. The Nizhneleninskoye-Tongjiang bridge, which crosses the Amur River in the far northeast corner of Russia and China, aims to enhance Russia’s connectivity with China, and the Belt and Road routes.
Heilongjiang is a landlocked province, and the bridge will help connectivity for Russian goods to be processed in China then shipped onto markets in Japan, South Korea, and North America via the Primorye-1 Corridor.
In addition, several hundred kilometers further along the Amur River, between Heihe and Blagoveshchensk, construction on an additional road bridge began last year. Alexander Galushka, Minister of Development for the Russian Far East, has stated that the Heihe-Blagoveshchensk highway bridge will be open for traffic in late 2019.
Heilongjiang’s trade with Russia reached US$11 billion in 2017, a 20 percent year-on-year increase, and accounted for one-seventh of total China-Russia trade. Galushka said the more cross border infrastructure linkages, the greater the opportunities for increasing the flow of goods between the Russian Far East and China.
Heilongjiang is part of the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, and is also an important link for energy supplies from Russia to China.
The Russian East Siberia Pacific Ocean oil pipeline runs close to the border with Heilongjiang on its way to Vladivostok. It is operated by Transneft. A line has been in operation running down into Daqing since 2011, operated by China National Petroleum Corporation. A second pipeline began commercial operations on January 1, allowing annual imports of Russian crude oil to be doubled from 15 million to 30 million tons annually via the pipeline. Rosneft is the supplier of the crude via the ESPO pipeline, and PetroChina is the buyer. The oil is currently processed at three Chinese refineries.
Chris Devonshire-Ellis, Chairman of Dezan Shira & Associates, and Professor of Practice at Russia’s Higher School of Economics comments: “The integration between the Russian Far East and Northern China is continuing apace and will be an important element of China’s northern rail connections. Trade between the two countries is booming, partially due to the West’ sanctions on Russia requiring it to access other markets in Asia. China and Russia are also about to sign off on the Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Agreement. The Nizhneleninskoye- Tongjiang bridge is just one of several cross border routes being established to facilitate this demand.”
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