Singapore, Chinese firms join hands to boost development of China's Southern Transport Corridor

Singapore's Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing (5th from left) and Chongqing Mayor Zhang Guoqing (6th from left) unveiling plaques to mark the inauguration of the Chongqing Logistics Development Platform and the Multimodal Distribution and Connectivity (DC) Centre, joint ventures between Singapore and Chinese companies. PHOTO: CHONG KOH PING

CHONGQING - Two joint-venture companies between Singapore and Chinese firms to drive trade and services flows between the two countries were officially inaugurated on Thursday (Aug 31).

The first is known as Sino-Singapore Chongqing Connectivity Solutions (SSCCS). It is a company which will develop standards and practices for river, rail, air and road transport modes linking Chongqing in south-western China with western China and beyond.

It will also facilitate the development of logistics facilities and services such as supply chain solutions.

The other company, also officially set up on Thursday, serves as a physical hub to plan, develop, manage and optimise multimodal operations across road, rail, river and air.

The Sino-Singapore (Chongqing) DC Multimodal Logistics will also coordinate and integrate logistics resources across logistics centres around and within Chongqing.

For a start, the SSCCS will be involved in the development of cargo train services along the Southern Transport Corridor from Chongqing to Beibu Gulf.

Through rail, freight time from the southern coastal area of China to inland Chongqing will be reduced to less than three days, from the current 10 days through the Yangtze River route.

This benefits traders exporting from South-east Asia for distribution in West China. Compared to the existing air freight and sea-land connections, this new sea-rail connection is the most effective for companies exporting to inland China, especially for perishable products.

"This milestone marks the partnership between Chongqing and Singapore companies to initiate and organise new trade routes to connect Chongqing to global markets along the Belt and Road Initiative," said Mr Teo Siong Seng, chairman of the newly set up SSCCS.

"I am hopeful that Chongqing can be the gateway to West China," said Mr Teo, the managing director of shipping company Pacific International Lines (PIL).

The SSCCS is made up of Connectivity Solutions, a Singapore consortium comprising PIL, PSA International, YCH Holdings, and Kerry Logistics (Singapore), and a Chinese consortium of six Chongqing companies.

Chief executive of trade agency IE Singapore Lee Ark Boon noted that the new venture catalyses Chongqing's role as China's inland international logistics hub and multimodal transport and logistics centre for the western region.

"More importantly, this enhances Singapore's connectivity to new emerging trade nodes and brings new opportunities for Singapore enterprises, in particular for wholesale trade. It will also support innovation in trade-related financial services," he added.

IE Singapore and the Chongqing Municipal Government have formalised a work group to coordinate plans, policies and stakeholder engagement to support the company.

According to IE Singapore, it will partner relevant Chinese agencies to drive innovative measures to facilitate trade and logistics flows.

"This supplements the customs policy announced by China in May this year to build Chongqing into a logistics hub, create an open trade platform, optimise regulatory services, develop the business environment and support financial services," said IE Singapore in a press release on Thursday.

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