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China and Pakistan launch direct rail freight

ISLAMABAD: China and Pakistan have launched a direct rail and sea freight service, with the first cargo train departing from Yunnan, an inland province in southwest China.

A cargo train loaded with 500 tonnes of commodities left Kunming, capital of Yunnan, for Karachi, marking the opening of the new route, China’s official news agency Xinhua reported on Thursday.

“The route helps locals businesses connect with the world market,” a representative from the New Silk Road Yunnan Limited said.

The new rail, sea freight will cut logistics cost, including that of transport, by 50 per cent compared to past services, the news agency reported.

The service is a part of China’s Maritime Silk Road initiative, of which USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC) is a part.

The CPEC was launched in 2015 to link up northwestern China with the Gwadar deep seaport in southern Pakistan.

The two countries already started the trade activities under CPEC as over a hundred Chinese containers were transported overland to Gwadar and shipped to Europe and Africa. – APP