The 2 km long railroad-bridge on the river Amur, in the northeastern corner of China, is set to open for trade this October. The Tongjian rail bridge or Amur bridge is result of a collective effort of Chinese and Russian engineers and workers.
The river Amur was a scene for a battle between Russia and warlord Zhang Xueliang over the control of the Chinese Eastern Railway 90 years ago. Today the river does not just separate the former rivals bunt bonds them. A new railway bridge connects the city of Tongjiang in China and the Russian village Nizhneleninskoye, the first ever such installation between the two countries.
The Amur bridge is a result of decades of joint planning and bargaining. It took five years to build. The Chinese finished their part in July, 2016. The Russian partner had started to build their section in December, 2016. Work is scheduled to be completed this July.
The collaborative engineers had to take many things into account; the hardships of weather, the different track gauges, train loads, the design styles, and so on.
The 2200 meters long railway bridge is planned to open for traffic in October, 2016. It will operate all-year long. The bridge has a planned annual capacity of 21 million metric tonnes. Enterprises on the Chinese side estimate that with the bridge their transportation costs will be 50% less than on the existing roadtransport. The bridge will make the route between the two countries 3500 kilometers shorter.
The bridge represents Russia’ (who is under the economic sanctions of the EU and the US) effort to establish closer economic ties with China and to push more of her export to that direction.
The Sino-Russian commerce honeymoon
The trade between NE-China and Russia has seen a rebound in the last few years. The Amur bridge will undoubtedly boost economic activity on both sides of the river, especially the import of raw materials into China like iron ore or lumber.
Chinese consumers prefer buying Russian products because they are eco-friendly and of good quality. For example, Russian flour, chocolate or seafood are very popular on the other side.
The trade volume between Heilongjiang province and Russia amounted to 122 billion yuan ($18.2 billion) in 2018. This figure represents 69,8 percent of the province’s total export and import value and 17,3 percent of China’s exports and imports to Russia.