（Written by Xu Junhao / Translated by Sheng Jie）The 2020 China Beibu Gulf Fishing Festival began in Fangchenggang City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on Aug. 16. During the festival, tourists can immerse themselves in the local ecological environment and enjoy discounted seafood. As for those who cannot visit Fangchenggang, the local fresh seafood are no longer out of their reach.
Thanks to the cold chain logistics, the seafood from Fangchenggang can arrive at any place all over the country in a short time, and become a part of people’s daily menus. The cold chain economy, against this background, is bringing new opportunities to the city.
More logistics channels established, and larger cold chain economy developed
Fangchenggang is located at the southwest end of the Chinese mainland and it is the most convenient gateway and channel between the Chinese mainland and ASEAN countries. As the largest port in western China as well as one of the 25 major coastal ports in China, Fangchenggang has an important geographic position in cold chain logistics. Owing such advantages, the city takes the lead in establishing the seaway-highway-railway cold chain logistics channel with ASEAN countries, especially with the seafood market, and is showing great potential in the development of cold chain economy.
In August 2019, the Chinese government put more manpower and material resources into the construction of the new western land-sea corridor, which not only injected new vitality and impetus to its international gateway port in the Beibu Gulf, but also brought more opportunities to the local cold chain economy.
At the same time, related policies and measures were issued to support the new western land-sea corridor and cold chain economy. Consequently, the local cold chain industries, such as import and export trading, marketing, product-processing, freezer storage and others based on cold chain logistics, developed rapidly in Fangchenggang.
Up to now, a number of cold chain trains have been opened from Fangchenggang to the cities all over the country, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Jinan, Chongqing, Guang’an, Dazhou and so on. In 2019, these trains sent a batch of cold chain products of nearly RMB 1 billion yuan, making Fangchenggang an important benchmark in this trade.
Besides that, a series of projects have been set up here, laying a solid foundation for the local cold chain industry expansion. Among them, the Guangxi Beibu Gulf International Fresh Cold Chain Park Project will construct an international two-way trading system of fresh food and a quality-test-track system to distribute its fresh agricultural products to the markets all over the country and Southeast Asia. It will boast a lower cost in logistics and better efficiency in customs clearance between ASEAN and western China. It is expected to manufacture 600,000 tons of fresh food per year and annual output value of over RMB 20 billion yuan when the project is completed.
In addition, in response to the call of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, Fangchenggang has implemented the “North Alliance” Plan, playing the role of international cold chain logistics hub in promoting the cross-region cooperation. Now the cooperation stretched to over 10 cities to Fangchenggang’ west, including Chengdu in Sichuan Province and Jiangjin in Chongqing Municipality. In the 16th China-ASEAN Expo, it worked with ten cities in China and Vietnam to establish a Cold-Chain-Economy Association. Base on that, Fangchenggang, together with other provinces in western China and Vietnam, has been actively engaging in building the new western land-sea corridor, taking advantage of the cold chain resources, and promoting the cold chain economy.
Crisis or opportunity: Cold chain economy will become hot
At a time when the cold chain economy is advancing, the sudden COVID-19 hit Fangchenggang and other places. In the worst days, the volume of railway cold chain logistics and the import of agricultural products have decreased dramatically. However, there is a crisis there is always an opportunity. During the epidemic, there has been a higher demand of fresh food and medicines delivery. Boastsing better efficiency and security, the cold chain logistics finds its opportunity in further development.
Confronted with new challenges, Fangchenggang strives for opportunities, and never stops promoting its cold chain economy.
In June 2020, Guangxi Lingxianyida Cold Chain Company, a supply company with 40 cold chain containers, came to Fangchenggang and boosted the local transportation capacity. This company is mainly engaged in cargo refrigeration and transport business, such as fresh food, frozen food, medicine and so on. It is expected that by 2023, the company will develop into the largest cold chain enterprise in Guangxi with 300 cold chain vehicles and 1,000 cooperative capacity.
Fangchenggang has never stopped improving its railway cold chain logistics. By formulating preferential policies, optimizing railway operating time, and reducing freight charges, Fangchenggang has further enhanced its competitiveness on seaway-railway intermodal transport. As a result, the charges from Fangchenggang Station to Beijing Dahongmen Station, Shenyang East Station and Shanghai Yangpu Station have been reduced by 43%, and Chongqing Station by 36%. Furthermore, more quality rail routes are opened. The running time of some trains has been shortened from 12 days to 5 days between Fangchenggang and Beijing (Shenyang), and from 5 days to 3 days between Fangchenggang and Chongqing Tuanjie Village.
In addition, Fangchenggang also focuses on promoting the construction of ASEAN (Dongxing) Agricultural Products Cross-Border Cold Chain Logistics Distribution Center and other cold chain projects, to further improve related industrial chain.
Zhang Jian, Director of the Port and Logistics Development Bureau of Fangchenggang, said that the focus in the future is to seize opportunities of maritime trade, to continually strengthen cold chain logistics from Fangchenggang to Vietnam and Thailand, to actively establish cold chain channels from Fangchenggang to Singapore and Malaysia, and to gradually build up related projects such as cold chain parks and cold chain distribution centers. Meanwhile, the city will strive to build itself an international cold chain logistics hub along the Belt and Road, as well as an international agricultural products trade processing center between China and ASEAN.
Source: China-ASEAN Panorama