Chongqing, the sprawling megacity in southwest China, celebrated a milestone on Sunday as it received the inaugural direct cold-chain train carrying Thai durians through the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor.
A staggering 150,000 succulent durians from Thailand embarked on a unique journey, initially transported by road to Laos. From there, they were loaded onto a train that traversed the China-Laos Railway, ultimately arriving in Chongqing.
The Chief Operating Officer of Hongjiu Fruit, Deng Haoji, shared that the entire expedition took a mere four days, a significant improvement from the 8 to 10 days typically required when relying on traditional maritime routes.
Deng highlighted the importance of time efficiency in the fruit importing industry, stating, “For fruit importers, time is money, and every hour is precious. This durian train has reduced costs, as well as losses during transportation.”
The majority of the delectable durians are destined for the markets of Chongqing, while the remainder will continue their train journey to reach the neighboring province of Sichuan.
Durians are just one example of the expanding range of agricultural products from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that have gained increased access to the Chinese market. This progress is owed to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement and the continuous enhancements in cross-border transport infrastructure.
Customs data reveals that in 2022 alone, China imported a staggering 825,000 tonnes of durians, with a significant portion of 780,000 tonnes originating from Thailand. This signifies the immense popularity and demand for this exotic fruit among Chinese consumers.
The successful transportation of Thai durians via the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor and the efficiency of the direct cold-chain train route not only strengthens economic ties between China and ASEAN but also facilitates smoother and faster trade operations for perishable goods.