On March 27, the returning China Railway Express freight train carrying 2,200 tons of Kazakhstan bulk wheat, which was imported by COFCO Corporation for the first time, arrived at Xi'an International Port District after departing from Kostanay, Kazakhstan 7 days ago.
In September 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Kazakhstan and formally proposed the initiative of jointly building "the Silk Road Economic Belt" in his speech, thus officially opening the curtain of "the Belt and Road". At present, China has become the largest trading partner of Kazakhstan. Agricultural trade is one of the most important parts of China-Kazakhstan economic and trade relations, while wheat trade ranks among top priorities of the bilateral agricultural trade. In recent years, under the joint efforts of COFCO Corporation and Kazakhstan enterprises, wheat trade volume between the two countries has witnessed rapid growth.
As the first stop on the Silk Road Economic Belt, Kazakhstan has abundant agricultural resources, and agricultural produce export occupies an important and promising position in its economic development. China-Kazakhstan wheat trade plays an important role in promoting stable growth of agricultural industry of Kazakhstan and the development of Chinese food processing industry, and at the same time contributes to consolidating China's food security and safety. The green and healthy Kazakhstan wheat has provided a diversified channel for China's wheat import, which can not only help enhance the product quality and competitiveness of flour processing industry in western China, but also enrich wheat varieties with high quality in the Chinese market.
According to Mr. Ma Lijun, General Manager of Wheat Department of COFCO Trading, this batch of imported wheat from Kazakhstan shows the latest progress in COFCO's efforts in distributing grain procurement and storage facilities along the Belt and Road countries. The wheat was supplied directly from Nidera's own storage facility, COFCO's subsidiary in Kazakhstan, and reached an inland port by way of freight train in bulk for the first time. This mode of transportation can greatly increase the efficiency of transporting wheat and reduce the cost of packing and reloading at the same time. Being the pioneer of China-Kazakhstan wheat trade, COFCO has made great efforts in improving import efficiency of Kazakhstan wheat, maintaining strict standard of quality and expanding sales markets, which has laid a solid foundation for the continuous and rapid development of wheat import from Kazakhstan.
For the past few years, COFCO has established agricultural trade relationships with 54 countries along the Belt and Road and has maintained the momentum for rapid growth. COFCO possesses a series of agricultural trade resources including storage and port logistic facilities along the Belt and Road. It has become one of the major grain exporters to Romania and top-ranking grain exporter to Ukraine, and owned the most efficient export transit facilities for agricultural products in the DSSC grain port in Ukraine. Meanwhile, COFCO provides various kinds of services including engineering design, financing and insurance for many countries along the Belt and Road.
During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, COFCO will continue to increase investment and strengthen construction in countries along the Belt and Road. COFCO plans to make new investment of 10 billion yuan, expand trade volume of agricultural products along the Belt and Road to more than30 million tons per year before 2020, procure first-hand grains with a volume of 10 million tons per year, and increase food trade volume to 5 billion yuan. COFCO will also keep on building land and maritime logistics channels for grain circulation, improving overseas grain storage logistics and agricultural produce processing facilities, strengthening comprehensive regional communication, building an international grain logistics channel that connects Central Asia, Europe and China’s inland areas. COFCO endeavors to become a major international grain trader by balancing market supply and demand as well as meeting differentiated demands of consumers.