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Kunming to become regional rail hub

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An article in today's Shanghai Daily touches upon Kunming's growing importance as a national logistics hub.

The story is primarily about cooperation between Hong Kong-based NWS Holdings and China United International Rail Containers Co, a joint venture between China Railway Container Transport Corp, a unit of the Ministry of Railway, and Israel-based Zim Integrated Shipping Services.

NWS and China United will fund development of large-scale rail container terminals in 18 cities. Kunming will be in the first phase of new terminals, along with Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Xi'an, Shenzhen, Qingdao, Dalian, Harbin and Tianjin. Seven more terminals will be built in Zhengzhou, Lanzhou, Shenyang, Guangzhou, Urumqi, Beijing and Ningbo.

So far the greatest progress seems to have been made on the Shanghai and Kunming terminals. Kunming's main role in the national rail container terminal network will be as China's primary link with Southeast Asia's rail container network.

In related news, Malaysia's Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said that the eastern line of the Trans-Asia Railway linking Kunming with Singapore won't be ready until 2015. If this estimate proves true, the rail link will launch five years after initiation of the China-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Free Trade Area in 2010. We wouldn't be surprised if in the coming years China steps in and offers extra funds or materials to expedite completion of this important rail line.

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