URUMQI, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Horgos Port in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region saw a rise in imports and exports in the first quarter of this year, local authorities said.
From January to March, imports and exports at this land port bordering Kazakhstan reached 8.65 million tonnes, an increase of 17.1 percent compared with the same period last year, mainly driven by imports, according to the Horgos Customs.
The trade volume hit 26.8 billion yuan (around 4 billion U.S. dollars), up 32.24 percent year on year.
Customs said imports were mainly traditional bulk commodities such as natural gas, timber and licorice, with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan as the major importing countries, while exports included mechanical and electrical products, garments, and fruits and vegetables.
Ma Lei, a local customs officer, attributes the imports and exports rise to the deepening of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
"China trades frequently with countries and regions along the Belt and Road. With improving port infrastructure, customs clearance capacity has been strengthened and efficiency boosted," Ma said.
The BRI, proposed by China in 2013, aims at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road to seek common development and prosperity.
Located about 670 km from Urumqi and 370 km from Almaty, Horgos was once a busy pass on the ancient Silk Road. The BRI has injected new vitality into the port.
Last year, imports and exports via Horgos surpassed 35 million tonnes, while trade volume totaled 135.2 billion yuan.