China's Chongqing opens faster import route for Thai durians

Xinhua, June 12, 2023

A worker arranges durians at a durian processing factory in the Chanthaburi province, Thailand, May 5, 2022. (Xinhua/Wang Teng)

Southwest China's Chongqing on Sunday welcomed the first direct cold-chain train of Thai durians that reached the megacity via the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor.

The 150,000 durians from Thailand were first transported by road to Laos, where they were loaded on a train that traveled into China via the China-Laos Railway.

The entire journey took four days, down from 8-10 days on previous sea-road routes, said Deng Haoji, chief operating officer of Hongjiu Fruit, the company that purchased the fruits.

"For fruit importers, time is money and every hour is precious. This durian train has reduced costs, as well as losses during the transportation," Deng said.

The majority of the durians will enter markets in Chongqing, while the rest will continue the train journey to reach the neighboring province of Sichuan.

Durians are among a growing number of agricultural products from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that have expanded entry into the Chinese market thanks to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement and improvement of cross-border transport infrastructure.

In 2022, China imported 825,000 tonnes of durian, of which 780,000 tonnes came from Thailand, according to customs data.