The Century-old Irkeshtam Port Relocates to Wuqia County

Dec 12, 2011, 01:53 ET from City Channel of CRI Online

XINJIANG, China, Dec. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- On December 9th, at the western end of China, a happy festival atmosphere pervaded the new site of Irkeshtam port, besides the mountains, with many vehicles fully loaded with exported goods slowly driven in as part of the ceremony that was held to celebrate the completion of the new site. Officials and people from different ethnic groups in Wuqia county gathered together, sang and danced to enjoy this exciting moment. CRI online city channel participated in reporting this event.

Irkeshtam port is an important port with a century-old history, and there was a prosperous business period with a continuous stream of business travelers. It is an important courier station of the ancient Silk Road and the largest trade port of the southern Xinjiang region in China. Before the P.R. China was founded and in 1950s, Irkeshtam port was the channel for border residents of the Soviet Union (Russia) and China to trade. In the early 1950s, the postal service of both countries was exchanged in this pass. Later, except the border guards guarding the outside, no trace of cross-border traders could be found.

Irkeshtam port was temporarily opened in 1997, and formally opened on May.20th, 2002 in full. Port design capacity is 300,000 tons of cargo and 100,000 people-crossings annually. It is a state-owned, first-class permanent land-road crossing, allowing people, goods and vehicles from China, Kyrgyzstan and other countries to pass.

Since the port was officially opened in 2002, by 2010 the total cargo throughput reached over 3 million tons with a value of $10.59 billion. In 2011 the total cargo throughput is expected to reach a record level by over 600,000 tons with a value of $4 billion. Currently import cargo handled at Irkeshtam port includes scrap metal, animal and plant products, and fresh and dried fruits. Export cargo mainly includes hardware, daily necessities, ceramics, clothing fabric, mechanical and electrical products, large machinery and other equipment etc.

Officially approved by the People's Government of China Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in 2006, moving Irkeshtam port to the new site was decided, locating 3 km away from the west of China's Xinjiang Wuqia county, and 110km away from the city of Kashi and Atushi, with a planned area of ​​64,000 square kilometers, a design capacity of 1.5-2 million tons of cargo and 500,000 people-crossings annually. After the move, the unique geographical advantage and policy advantages of Irkeshtam port will be visualized better with broader prospects for development, it will bring a profound impact in promoting the overall strategy of development campaigns of the western regions, strengthening close cooperation with Central Asia, South Asia, West Asia and Eastern Europe, forming a new economic growth path to push forward the development of Xinjiang, improving the function of the Kashi special economic zone, and promoting local economic development .

On the one hand, the trend of economic globalization, economic and trade exchanges between China and Central Asian countries have become increasingly frequent, cooperation areas are broadening, cargo and people pass by the port with rapidly rising numbers, so improving the service functions in the new site of Irkeshtam port will promote the development of this positive trend.

On the other hand, it helps to create the opening cooperation platform of "introduce foreign resources and establish domestic connections, cooperate with the eastern regions and export to the western regions - come from the west and go to the east " and promotes to form a new pattern of China's opening up to the outside world through both "open land" and "open sea". Xinjiang Wuqia will rely on the special resources including mineral resources, natural gas, the plateau organic food and a specified industrial layout of "one zone + eight districts ", build a multi-functional port city with the functions of goods distribution, production and processing, trade negotiations, commodity display, integrated shopping, transit and bonded area, financial services, warehousing, hospitality and other entertainments, business and living.

SOURCE City Channel of CRI Online