Trucks and semitrailers loaded with vehicles could be seen lined up at Torugart Port in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in early November, waiting to head to Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, as trade from China's northwestern region continues to grow.
Exports of Chinese cars through the land port in the Kizilsu Kirgiz autonomous prefecture have surged about fourfold this year to reach 35,000, according to the port management committee, which added that nearly 80 percent of those were new energy vehicles.
"They mainly export to Russia via Central Asian countries, as consumers value the cost performance of Chinese automobiles," said committee director Li Wang. "Most cars are valued at 200,000 to 400,000 yuan ($27,800 to $55,700). We expect the export volume to reach 40,000 by the end of December."
Torugart Port, opened in 1881, is one of the two land ports between China and Kyrgyzstan, linking the Naryn Region in eastern Kyrgyzstan. It is 62 kilometers from Artux, the prefecture's capital, 109 km from the China-Kyrgyzstan border, and only 620 km from Bishkek. Thanks to its location, it has been an important historical gateway for China to trade with countries from Central Asia, Western Asia and Europe.
The port mainly processes exports of clothing, shoes, daily necessities, machinery and equipment, and household appliances, and imports sheep and cattle leather, as well as fruit. For many years, the import and export cargo was about 500,000 metric tons annually. However, this year it reached 775,500 tons from January to October, up 105 percent year-on-year.
"After China optimized its COVID-19 measures, as well as with the support of good policies related to the Belt and Road Initiative and policies promoting China's westward opening-up, trade has soared this year," Li said. "We have entered a historical period of opportunity and development."
The port plans to build a car trading industrial park, which will engage in exhibitions, consignments, renovation and serve as a transit warehouse.
"By the end of November, we will set up an automobile dealership at the port, and invite foreign customers to visit and make purchases. This will further facilitate the export of commodity vehicles," Li added.
Kizilsu Kirgiz Xinrong Logistics Co has a warehouse of 44,000 square meters at the port, of which 40 percent is occupied by vehicles.
"Currently, we export more than 2,000 vehicles to Kyrgyzstan every month, and our overall revenue has increased by 40 percent compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic," said general manager Xokrat Abdukerim.
"After cage trucks loaded with automobiles from other regions in China arrive at the port and enter our warehouse, the customs clearance officials will check them immediately. The speed is very fast and the service is very good," he said.
Ping Xiaojian, general manager of Naifu Used Cars Trading Market (Torugart), said it takes about 10 days to reach the destination country through the port. However, it may take about a month by railway.
"Faster logistics brings faster payment," he said. The company has exported about 3,000 automobiles through the port this year. He added there are many logistics companies around the port to meet their transport demand.
One kilometer from the port, the Topa-Torugart Port section of the G315 National Highway is under construction. When completed in 2025, it will be upgraded from two lanes to four lanes, to improve transport efficiency.