China launches a Qinghai-Kathmandu freight ‘train’ service

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China launches a Qinghai-Kathmandu freight ‘train’ service. (Photo courtesy: Xinhua)

(TibetanReview.net, Dec19’21) – China said Dec 16 that it had launched a China-South Asia freight train service linking a city in Qinghai Province, which constitutes the bulk of the historical Tibetan province of Amdo (or Domey), with Nepal’s capital Kathmandu. It will be a rail and road transport service as even a feasibility study for the much-talked about Tibet-Nepal railway service is yet to start.

Landlocked Nepal and, especially, China have long been working to reduce the former’s dependence on India for essential supplies and freight services, but with little success.

The first train departed from a railway freight yard in Haidong (Tibetan: Tsoshar) on Dec 15, reported China’s official globaltimes.cn Dec 16.

Citing a Dec 16 WeChat official account posting from the local party mouthpiece Tibet Daily, the report said a 30-car train, carrying some 1,350 tons of supplies, including everyday items and farm byproducts, set out for Xigaze (Shigatse), Southern Tibet.

The report said the goods will then be transported by road and exported in batches before eventually reaching their final destination Kathmandu. It is an about 2,800-kilometer journey expected to take six days, the report said.

It was the first cargo service that combines rail and road transportation launched by Qinghai Province and the China Railway Qinghai-Tibet Group Co. The Qinghai-Tibet Group plans to strengthen the development of plateau railways, expand the rail network and take full advantage of rail transport, known for its high speeds, large volumes and low costs, for there to be increased international freight train capacity, the report said.

The report said the China-South Asia freight train service added to China’s international cargo supply chain strength revolving around robust freight train services connecting China and Europe.

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