NEW TRADE ROUTE ABOUT TO OPEN

NEW TRADE ROUTE ABOUT TO OPEN

A new freight route connecting the Japanese Port of Yokohama with Nakhodka in the Soviet Far East and Heilongjiang province in northeast China is scheduled to open this summer.

Shipping analysts in Tokyo believe the new route will provide significant possibilities for larger trade for these areas, all of which involve movement of freight through the Japan Sea.Up until now much of the sea trade between Japan and north China, including Heilongjiang, has been conducted through the Port of Dalian in neighboring Liaoning Province. However, port facilities at Dalian have not kept up with expanded freight handling requirements, forcing extended delays.

Japanese shipping experts complain that it currently takes shipments through Dalian toJapan at least a month and sometimes several to move from Heilongjiang to Yokohama. They point out that the delays represent a major obstacle to trade expansion between Japan and the region. Although the Chinese are making an effort to upgrade freight handling facilities at Dalian, with capacity to be increased from the present 40 million tons to at least 100 million tons, completion of the work is not expected until the end of this century.

Cargoes moving along the new route will travel by rail from Heilongjiang to Suifenhe along the Sino-Soviet border via Mudanjian. From there the freight will be transferred to the Trans-Siberian Railway and carried to Nakhodka Port. From that port the cargoes will be shipped directly to Yokohama.

Use of this alternative route is expected to require about 10 days, significantly slashing travel time by a third and costs by between 25 percent and 30 percent or so, according to officials of Japan's Jeuro Container Transport, a Yokohama-based private freight company. Jeuro is to play a key role in handling freight on the new route.

Another new project of Heilongjiang authorities, also to materialize this summer, involves the opening of an air freight route to Khabarovsk in the Soviet Union. It will facilitate a flight extension connecting the Japanese city of Niigata on the Japan Sea with Heilongjiang via the already existing regular air freight route to Khabarvosk.

Officials in Niigata reported the new air route, which will cut transport time between Heilongjiang and Japan to less than half, is to be operated jointly by the governments of these two entities.