Posted September. 06, 2008 00:18,
Korea, China, Japan and Russia will jointly launch a new regular cargo route to greatly reduce the time needed for freight transportation going through the four neighboring countries.
The four countries have agreed to develop a sea and land route connecting them to Changchun, the capital of Chinas Jilin Province, according to the eastern Korean city of Sokcho, Gangwon Province, and China`s Xinhua News Agency yesterday.
The sea route will link Sokcho to Zarubino, Russia, via Niigata, Japan, while the land route will link Zarubino to Hunchun, China.
A one-way trip on the existing route between northeastern Chinese provinces and Japan via the Chinese port city of Dalian takes 12 days. The new golden route will shorten the time to one and a half days, according to Xinhua.
Sokcho city officials say this will mark a new turning point in cultural exchanges between the capital areas of Korea and Japan. The Seoul-Busan-Tokyo route, which takes four to five days, is expected to be replaced with the Sokcho-Niigata route, which takes just two days.
The existing route connects Busan to Tokyo via Shimonoseki in Japan or a long sea detour. The distance between Seoul and Sokcho (198 kilometers) is less than half that between Seoul and Busan (425 kilometers).
The four countries jointly established Northeast Shipping Ltd. in Sokcho to develop the new route. Korea owns 51 percent of the company, Russia 17 percent, and China and Japan 16 percent each.
Of Koreas share, the company Beomhan Merchant Marine owns 31 percent and Gangwon Province and Sokcho each own 10 percent.
The new route is expected to officially open from March next year after trial operations are held from next month.
A sea route connecting Sokcho to Vladivostok, Russia, via Zarubino is in operation.