China’s ILSTC Achieves $8.9 Billion in TEUs, Drives Global Trade

The New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (ILSTC), stretching through western China, is rapidly expanding, connecting the Silk Road Economic Belt, the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, and the Yangtze River Economic Belt. As reported by the People’s Daily, in 2023, this transportation route saw a 7 percent year-on-year increase, transporting 615,200 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) worth 64.32 billion yuan ($8.9 billion), marking a 16 percent surge compared to the previous year. The ILSTC now extends to 490 ports across 120 countries and regions, facilitating the movement of over 1,100 types of goods.

Activities at Guoyuan Port in Liangjiang New Area, Chongqing, mirror the ILSTC’s growth. By December 2023, 42 national logistics hubs had been established along the corridor, with 11 new ones added in 2023 to strengthen key logistics nodes.

Institutional innovations like streamlined customs clearance and digital document applications are improving service efficiency. Customs clearance times at Guangxi ports have significantly decreased compared to 2017.

The use of digital documents, like the “one-document coverage mechanism,” is expanding into Southeast Asia. The “one-container coverage mechanism” has been widely adopted, lowering costs per container.

Information exchange platforms are also being built, with data on container and vessel movements shared with Singapore’s PSA, enhancing international supply chain visibility.

The ILSTC’s rapid growth and logistical innovations are bolstering China’s global market connectivity and economic development.

Additionally, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Index (SMEDI) rose to 89.3 in Q1 2024, indicating SMEs’ improved operating conditions after the Spring Festival. Policy support has boosted corporate confidence.

In Q1, all sub-indices of the China SME Development Index increased, particularly in market expectations and financing conditions. Domestic orders, input, and sales prices in key industries have also risen.

Furthermore, China has emerged as the fastest-growing nation brand according to Brand Finance’s “Global Soft Power Index 2024,” ranking third behind the US and UK. China’s strides in business, trade, education, and science are key drivers of its soft power growth, aided by the Belt and Road Initiative and technological advancements.

China’s success in soft power is attributed to its openness, technological innovation, and commitment to peaceful development and mutual benefit.

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