Changsha takes off as key logistics hub in China
The capital of Hunan province also emerging as core national transport center
A plane carrying 2.6 metric tons of fresh seafood landed at Changsha Huanghua International Airport at 9:50 pm on Dec 2, after a three-hour flight from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, marking the start of Hunan province's first international all-cargo scheduled route.
Local officials said the launch of the Changsha-Ho Chi Minh international all-cargo flight was a prime example of Changsha's efforts to build itself into a national transportation and logistics center.
Changsha, the capital of Central China's Hunan province, has been carrying out the construction of a comprehensive transportation system - spanning air, water and land - for years.
It has formed a comprehensive transport network comprising an international airport, high-speed railways and modern highways and ports.
Hu Yuelong, head of the city's transportation bureau, said the local government issued a three-year action plan (2018-20) in July, according to which Changsha aims to become a national aviation, railway and highway hub and a major hub for inland water transport by 2020.
Changsha is a core city, both along the Belt and Road Initiative's trade routes, and in the Yangtze River Economic Zone. With such a favorable location, the city can reap major advantages by developing its transportation and logistics.
It is at the intersection of the Beijing-Guangzhou, Shanghai-Kunming and Chongqing-Xiamen high-speed railways. Departing from the Changsha South Railway Station, bullet trains deliver passengers directly to 16 provincial capitals and four municipalities.
And as one of the top 100 airports in the world, Changsha Huanghua International Airport is a key airport in China's central region.
In 2016, passenger throughput at the airport hit 20 million, ranking it No 1 in Central China. It is expected to handle 23.5 million passengers this year.
On the water transportation front, the third phase of Changsha New Port is under construction and is expected to be finished at the end of 2018.
"We plan to build six 2,000-ton berths and link the port with special train lines," said Tang Zhongliang, chairman of Hunan Changsha New Port Co.
From January to November, Changsha New Port handled 6.5 million tons of cargo throughput, an increase of 36 percent over the same period last year. Its container throughput reached nearly 140,000 twenty-foot equivalent units, representing 31.1 percent growth.
The city's convenient highway network has helped consolidate its position as a regional highway hub, featuring seven sections of expressways and an intelligent "highway port", the first of its kind in the city, which started trial operations at the end of 2016.
Changsha is the first city in Hunan to achieve the integration of urban and rural public transportation, with bus lines reaching every town and street in the region. It also boasts China's first middle and low-speed maglev train, built with homegrown technologies and independent intellectual property rights.
The Changsha Maglev Express, which stretches over 18.5 kilometers, can achieve a top speed of 100 km per hour.
SF Airlines launches a cargo fl ight from Changsha to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.[Photos provided to China Daily]
The line started operation on May 6, 2016. It connects the Changsha South Railway Station and the Changsha Huanghua International Airport, stopping at three stations on its 20-minute journey.
The express route, as the longest maglev line of its kind in the world, has attracted experts from about 30 countries and regions to experience and investigate the project.
Changsha's increasingly developed transportation system has provided additional boosts to its logistics and cross-border e-commerce.
US logistics delivery giant UPS, for example, announced on March 28 that it would add six more stations to its multimodal container rail service between Europe and China.
UPS said the six new stations would be at Changsha, Chongqing, Suzhou and Wuhan in China, and Duisburg in Germany and Warsaw in Poland.
They would be added to the existing Chinese mainland stations of Zhengzhou and Chengdu, and the European stations of Lodz in Poland and Hamburg in Germany.
The improved transportation network has instilled new energy into Changsha's open economy.
According to the city's bureau of commerce, the total import and export volume between January and October surged 45.5 percent year-on-year to $10.63 billion in Changsha.
In the future, Changsha will focus on developing more passenger routes to the United States, Europe, Australia, Central Asia and Africa, and launching new cargo routes to Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Seattle, Moscow, Bangkok and Indonesia.
It plans to open at least one new international passenger route and one new all-cargo route annually.
Source: China Daily