China has launched a new cargo service linking Tibet and Nepal as dozens of trucks carrying goods worth $2.8 million left the Tibetan border port of Gyirong en route to Kathmandu.The new rail and road cargo service launched on Friday links Guangdong, Tibet and Nepal.
The new route aims to boost trade with the South Asian neighbour as China pushes forward its Belt and Road (Silk Road) initiative, state-run 'Xinhua' news agency reported on Saturday. A train carrying products, including shoes, clothes, hats, furniture, appliances, electronics and building materials,covered the 5,200-kilometer distance between Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, and Xigaze in Tibet.
The trucks are responsible for the remaining 870 kilometer of the journey, carrying goods to Gyirong and then to the final stop in Kathmandu, Nepal's capital. This is the first such consignment being sent to Nepal after new Prachanda government took over from his pro-Chinapredecessor K P Sharma Oli, who had signed the transit trade deal with Beijing in March this year in a bid to reduce Nepal's dependence on India despite it being expensive due to the mountainous terrain.
China also agreed his request to build a strategic railway link between the two countries from Gyirong, the last Tibetancounty which shares border with Nepal. China plans to extend the railway later to India and otherSouth Asian countries to promote trade. The process of formation of road and rail links however reportedly slowed down after Prachanda's take over resulting in the delay of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Nepal. However, Xi and Prachanda met on the sidelines of BRICS summit at Goa in October this year.
"The trip between Guangzhou and Gyirong takes about five to six days, much shorter than the 20 days for sea transport,"said Yao Yanfeng, general manager of the freight carrier Tibet Tianzhi Import and Export Co. Ltd. "The time could be cut further to 3.7 days in the future,'the Xinhua report quoted him as saying.