China, Mongolia, and Russia Increase Trans-National Rail Traffic by 150 percent

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The Mongolian Embassy in Beijing has held a transportation forum with Chinese and Russian authorities to discuss cooperation on freight train transportation. Trans-Mongolian routes link the countries; however, China uses a different rail gauge from Mongolia and Russia and trains must change bogies at the Mongolian border, a time-consuming process taking several hours. There are also problems with over-capacity on Chinese rail.

The three trans-Mongolian routes head east through to the border with North Korea and then on to Vladivostok, the western route extends through to Xinjiang and onto Kazakhstan, while the central route links Mongolia and Russia and extends to other European countries.

Mr. B Tsogtgerel, the Mongolian vice-minister of transportation, said the central route is very important. A total of 167 China Central Route Railway trains passed through Mongolia last year, and the target is to reach 400 during 2017.

“Mongolia will continue to provide assistance to make sure the path is smooth, including further cutting time for trains to cross borders and clear customs. Mongolia will also provide more space for freight trains to load and unload goods. The economic collaboration between China, Mongolia and Russia is an important part of the global economy,” he added.

China started the China-Europe freight train service in 2011, and enhanced the service in 2013 under the initiative. Last year, 1,702 trains departed from China on overland international routes, a 109 percent year-on-year increase, and 572 trains returned to China, up 116 percent year-on-year, according to the China Railway Corporation.

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