QINGDAO, June 19 (Xinhua) -- As Xing Fangmin lifted a green flag into an upright position as a freight train bound for Central Asia roared past him.
It was the No. 3759 China-Central Asia freight train departing from Jiaozhou Station in Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong Province. As the stationmaster, 56-year-old Xing sees off up to seven such trains carrying goods including tea and automobile components to Central Asia countries including Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan every week.
The station is also the departure station of another four international freight routes, including an Asia-Europe freight route, which all have witnessed an increase in delivery volume in recent years.
Last June, China hosted Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Qingdao summit and proposed to build a demonstration zone for China-SCO local economic and trade cooperation there. Since then, more goods from countries such as Japan, the Republic of Korea and Southeast Asian countries departed from the station.
In 2018, the China-Central Asia route carried some 15,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs). In the first five months of this year, it delivered some 28,500 TEUs, a 90-percent jump from the previous year.
According to the data released by the Qingdao customs on June 13, from June 2018 to May 2019, the total value of imports and exports between Shandong and SCO countries reached 156.05 billion yuan (about 22.53 billion U.S. dollars), up 30.9 percent year on year.
At the CRIntermodal Qingdao Terminal, goods are sorted and packed. When the freight is ready to be delivered, Xing's job is to get goods wagons and locomotives prepared and arrange their departure times.
Xing is getting busier in recent years. The route sees about five trips every week now. But when he first came to the station in 2013, there was only one trip at most every week.
Before 2014, most of the goods came from the domestic market. But now, the goods carried by the China-Central Asia freight trains mainly come from foreign markets, according to Wei Xuelun, deputy general manager with Qingdao branch of CRIntermodal.
The content of the goods delivered to Central Asian countries has also changed. "The freight has extended from raw materials and bulk materials such as marble and beer to middle and high-end products including automobiles and machinery," said Zhang Zhaoyu, a staff with the Qingdao branch of CRIntermodal.
Benefits of trade cooperation have been shared by local people in the destination countries.
"Goods delivered from China have made my family's lives more convenient, and more and more diversified products are available in the local market now," said Azimov Eminjon, a Tajikistani student at the China University of Petroleum in Qingdao.