A freight train is ready to leave the Qingdao center of China Railway Container Transport Corp, which is one of 18 designated key centers for domestic container transport in the country.Provided To China Daily
Qingdao has made remarkable progress in upgrading logistics facilities in recent years and linking them with member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. And with this year's SCO summit to be held in the port city next month, it is bringing even more positive attention and business opportunities for Qingdao as well as organization members, an official said.
With support from the Ministry of Commerce, Qingdao is also building a demonstration zone for China-SCO economic and trade cooperation.
Ma Weigang, director of the Qingdao Bureau of Commerce, said the city has been actively integrating its economic and trade cooperation with SCO member countries. Trade between Qingdao and SCO-related economies rose 12.5 percent to 39.02 billion yuan ($6.14 billion) last year.
A China Railway Express train recently departed Qingdao destined for Pakistan, marking the 3,000th such 10-day journey - far faster than the same trip made by sea. "The CR Express can reach any destination in the five countries in Central Asia within 14 days," said Wei Xuelun, deputy general manager of the Qingdao center of China Railway Container Transport Corp. "The entire railway line stretches 4,500 kilometers, and the time it takes is 30 days shorter than using maritime transportation, and this has greatly improved logistics efficiency."
Wei's center is based in Jiaozhou, which forms part of Qingdao. It is an important hub in the city's connectivity with the outside world and is one of 18 designated key centers for domestic container transport.
The center cooperates with more than 600 container stations across China and is responsible for transportation services in Shandong and neighboring provinces.
Wei said the advantage of the network is that shipping times are shortened and punctuality is better maintained.
"The geographic location of Central Asian countries makes maritime transportation very difficult," he said. "Whether importing goods from other countries or transporting goods out of Central Asia, these countries are highly dependent on this port-rail network."
Wang Jun, director of the Qingdao Jiaozhou Bay Logistics Park, said its new freight train is mainly used for transporting goods to and from Central Asia.
"We hope to use the upcoming summit to promote this channel as a way of getting products from Central Asia to our country, including minerals and agricultural products," he said.
Hao Guoxin, deputy director of the Qingdao Jiaozhou Economic and Technological Development Zone, said coordinating operations among logistics parks in countries in the organization is a major issue that is being addressed.
"We have already established industrial parks in three SCO countries," he said.
"We hope every SCO member and observer country can have at least one industrial or logistics park, and we expect to work to boost two-way investment and two-way trade, and to make full use of the market and resources of SCO countries. How best to combine them is the main issue we are considering now."
While ports and harbors are making great strides in improving logistics facilities, companies in Qingdao are also increasing cooperation with organization members.
Home appliances giant Haier entered the Pakistan market in 2001. Today, its brand recognition has reached 96 percent there.
In the first quarter this year, Haier Pakistan secured the top spot among home appliances in the country with a market share of 30.4 percent and sales growth of 16 percent year-on-year.
The company also began investing in refrigerator manufacturing in Russia in 2015, and now enjoys a 25 percent market share in the country for refrigerators, creating about 2,000 jobs.