Latvia closes historic transport deal with China

On Monday, the Understanding Memorandum for cooperation in the transport sector was signed between Latvia and the Chengdu municipality. It happened during Kaspars Ozolins', State Secretary for the Transport Ministry, visit to China. 

Aivis Freidenfelds, head of Communications Department at the Ministry of Transport, also noted that the basis of the memorandum is formed in the possible opening of a direct flight route between Rīga and Chengdu.

The route would help in deepening the strategic cooperation between Latvia and China in transport, logistics and other branches of the economy within the framework of the Chinese Silk Road (the so-called "One Belt Road").

"By forming an effective connection between Latvia and Chengdu – both in aviation and logistics – Latvia could get the chance to fully integrate within the new Silk Road, by serving as a logistical branch in Chinese–Northern European supply chains and by developing Rīga as a convenient transit point for the quickly growing Chinese tourist numbers in Europe," said Ozoliņš. 

While Liu Shoucheng, the vice-mayor of Chengdu, said that the new memorandum marks the first practical step for further cooperation between Chengdu and Latvia in transport and logistics, as well as in trade, tourism and inter-city relations. 

Photo: Ministry of Transport

The Chengdu party also commended Latvia's input in strengthening the connectivity of China and Europe, for example, by organizing the summit for Transport Ministers of ASEM countries in Rīga. 

The Transport Ministry told that the Sichuan province in Central China, with its capital Chengdu, is one of the fastest-growing Chinese provinces with its number of inhabitants nearing 100 million.

Chengdu is chosen to be and is developing as one of the most important logistics centers of the China-Europe Silk Road. The city is also serving the quickly-growing electronics and automotive industries of the Sichuan province.

Latvia sees Chengdu and Sichuan as a strategical partner for strengthening transport connectivity – both in terms of passenger and of freight transport – between Latvia and China, opening both direct flight routes and creating a Chinese-European ground transport corridor through Latvia for serving Northern European freight, noted the Transport Ministry. 

Chengdu houses the fourth largest Chinese airport with the steepest increase in passenger numbers. It also hosts the largest inland freight terminal that serves as a departure point for the regular Chinese-European freight train deliveries.

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