China brands Russian far-east city Vladivostok as “internal port”

The decision comes into effect on 1 June and applies to goods traveling from northeast China to the south.

The General Customs Administration of China has declared Vladivostok as a transit port for domestic trade, according to Caixinglobal, a Chinese semi-official outlet. The report is confirmed by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its Telegram channel

From now on, goods being shipped from one province in China to another will pass through Vladivostok without customs procedures, starting 1 June 2023.

Previously, goods from the bordering provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang were usually transported to the opposite end of China, covering a distance of 1,000 km to reach Yellow Sea ports.

From the summer they can be transported just a few hundred kilometers to Vladivostok. There, the containers will be transferred to ships and sent to their recipients.

For China, the ability to reduce the overland portion of the logistics route from the northeast to the south by a factor of five is crucial. The country has approved a strategic plan for industrial recovery in northeast China, which involves rapid production growth.

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It is still unclear whether the infrastructure in Vladivostok will be able to handle a growing cargo flow, if it becomes significant, according to transportation officials. In the fourth quarter of last year, congestion in the port of Vladivostok was frequent, with ships spotted in traffic jams or having to wait for unloading for up to two weeks.

Russian-Chinese trade has intensified since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Beijing is generally supportive of Moscow but has stressed on many occasions that it respects the territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine.

While China officially denies it nurtures territorial claims regarding Russia, in media rhetoric and education books the Russian Far-East is described as Chinese heritage