A SCANDINAVIAN consortium is pressing ahead this week with a bold new plan to send Norwegian salmon across Russia to China by rail.
The first container shipments are expected to be on their way within the next two months.
The plan is going ahead despite a recent unexplained decision by Russia to send back two airfreight consignments of Norwegian salmon.
The new mode of transport has been made possible because in the past month Russia has lifted a ban on the transit traffic of a whole range of perishable products, including fish that were previously sanctioned.
Russia has opened a special department to oversee transit traffic, meaning that interested parties will have to receive an approval in order to dispatch their shipments.
Russia imposed a ban on various food and agricultural products five years ago, after the EU and US placed sanctions on the country following hostilities with Ukraine. Although not a member of the EU, Norway was included in the ban.
The planned rail route will begin at the Norwegian Port of Narvik, where refrigerated containers will be loaded with salmon bred in fish farms in northern Norway.
The containers will pass through the Swedish-Finnish border crossing to a railhead in the Finnish town of Kouvola for onward shipment across Russia to Xi’an in China. The entire journey is expected to take around 12 days.
Behind the Norway-China rail freight corridor project is businessman and rail consultant Micael Blomster and Railgate Finland.
Blomster described the plan as a huge breakthrough.
‘We believe this will reduce transport costs by about 80 per cent over air transport. The decision by Russia to lift the ban will open up major new opportunities for transporting salmon between Narvik in Norway to China.’
Currently, all Norwegian salmon is sent to China by air and volumes are increasing rapidly. But this growth has come under fire from environmental groups in Norway and elsewhere because of the huge carbon footprint involved.
The new initiative is being watched closely by many of Norway’s fish farming companies, anxious to display their green credentials.
From this news we can see Russia has set up a good example for the smooth transportation for the large business to be done. China’s Belt and Road Initiativ is just like this. The train will go through Khorgos port in Xinjiang and then to Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi Province, hometown of Terra Cotta Army.
During October National Day Holiday, your reporter went to Urumqi to have an experience of life there and lived in Golden Beach Hotel. This is a place near Dawan and near Uygors majority residential areas. Amazingly the Golden Beach Holiday In attracted many people, mostly young people.
This was a medical treatment pool. People can buy a daily ticket of 118 yuan or just 99 yuan if you live in the hotel and stay there for the whole day and eat lunch and dinner buffet.
The service is excellent and you can enjoy the swimming or just the spa. It looks like a tropical area. A lot of children were there to play. A lot of young people went there to play. If you are tired, you can also rest in the sofa.
A 9 year old girl asked me whether I am alone or with someone, I said I was alone, she asked are you not lonely? How sad it is to be alone? Indeed, but at that time, I enjoyed the solitude and the loneliness.
The hotel price was 299 yuan per night. If you pay 399 yuan, all these swimming pool program and all the food will be included.
The first cargo train loaded with Norwegian salmon is expected to depart Narvik for China early next year, Jernbanemagasinet reports.
Thanks to new transport technology, the salmon will still be fresh when it arrives in Xi’an about 10 days after leaving Narvik.
Narvik is the northernmost cargo railway station on the coast to the Norwegian Sea, with a line originally built for iron-ore transport from Kiruna in northernmost Sweden.
In Haparanda, on Sweden’s border to Finland, the containers will be transferred over to Finnish wagons, because the two countries have different track width. From Finland the salmon cargo will cross into Russia from Kouvola and then follow the established rail cargo route via St. Petersburg and Moscow into Kazakhstan and eastbound to China, the portal iLaks informs.
The San Francisco-based company BluWrap has developed new transport means to keep the salmon fresh for longer periods than under normal transport where the fish is stored on ice.
The company uses fuel cells to reduce and monitor oxygen during transport. “It’s made from cardboard and use no ice or Styrofoam,” said Ola Strand, CEO of BluWrap interviewed by SalmonBusiness.
BlueWrap says it is by controlling oxygen and temperature salmon are kept fresh over longer periods.
Norway has a strong focus on developing the so-called blue economy, including giving a boost to aquaculture. By 2030, the goal is to increase seafood export to five times the amount today. The new salmon cargo train from Narvik to China opens a new export corridor to reach that goal.
This story is just a good example of Belt and Road Initiative. That is to use new technology or tools to make us connected. The train uses fuel cells to reduce and monitor oxygen during the transport. This is good. This is also climate friendly.
This is just the same idea of Belt and Road Initiativ.
STOCKHOLM, December 8(Greenpost)–Top diplomats from the African Union joined the Chinese Ambassador to Sweden and the Belt and Road Institute’s (BRIX) members in a special seminar on December 5 in Stockholm to outline the great progress being achieved in realizing Africa’s development goals in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Moreover, the seminar’s more important aspect was to explore the massive potential imbedded in making Africa the greatest economic powerhouse on the planet in the coming decades and how Sweden, Europe and China can cooperate with the African nations to accelerate and benefit from this promising perspective.
The seminar was initiated by Stephen Brawer, Vice-President of BRIX and moderator of the event. He welcomed everyone and gave a brief history of how BRIX came into being, and about its two other very successful seminars in 2019. The BRIX, which is only one year old, emerged out of a high-level seminar on the strategic and economic impact of the BRI held in May 2018 and organized jointly by the Schiller Institute and the China-Sweden Business Council (CSBC). He emphasized that BRIX works to disseminate knowledge of BRI as a global development process, and to present facts and knowledge based on deeper reflections, and not on superficial opinion based on prejudice and geopolitical agendas. Thus, BRIX believes that in the future, disinformation and propaganda that are spread in Sweden against BRI should be addressed in a more clear and assertive way.
Egypt’s ambassador, Mr. Alaa Hegazy, gave the welcoming speech as representative of the African Union (AU), since Egypt is the current Chairman of the AU. He emphasized the importance of the Belt & Road Initiative for the implementation of Africa’s development plans that have been around for a long time and lacked only the construction starts. He presented the AU’s Agenda 2063 plan for a continental rail and road network, electrification and industrialization. Ambassador Hegazy explained that the AU has several cooperation mechanisms with the EU, UN, Japan, etc., but cooperation with the BRI has been the most dynamic and effective of these mechanisms.
The ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Sweden, Mr. Gui Congyou gave, the keynote speech of the seminar in which he gave a detailed picture of the extensive cooperation that has been established between China and Africa in the context of the BRI. Ambassador Gui referenced the September 2018 Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing and the results of that summit. He said: “China-Africa joint construction of the “Belt and Road” initiative has accelerated, and 40 African countries and the AU Commission have signed cooperation documents with China on the “Belt and Road” initiative. We have formulated a country plan based on the actual needs of Africa. We will implement a total of more than 880 China-Africa cooperation projects in the next three years.”
Concerning Chinese-Swedish perspectives, the Ambassador stated: ”The Swedish government has many aid and cooperation projects for Africa, and many large Swedish companies such as Volvo, Scania, and ABB have extensive operations in Africa. China is willing to work with other countries in the world, including Sweden, to complement each other’s strengths and make positive contributions to peace, stability and development in Africa.”
Ethiopia’s Ambassador, Mr. Deriba Kuma showed the audience how Africa’s plans for modernization and industrialization are being implemented. Ethiopia is well on its way to realizing its plans to become a middle-income country by 2025, transitioning from an agricultural-based society to an industry-based one. “Ethiopia is a major beneficiary in the Belt and Road Initiative. Since the country has embarked on expanding its infrastructure network across the nation like roads, railways, telecom and airports; the technical as well as financial support from the Government of China side has helped a lot”, Ambassador Deriba said. He added that “Ethiopia, through its vision of becoming a middle-income country by 2025, has launched an ambitious plan of constructing twelve industrial parks across the nation. Major Chinese companies have participated in the construction of these industrial parks and even some Chinese companies are constructing their own industrial parks in Ethiopia.” He emphasized that “Ethiopia has a plan to have 30 industrial parks by the year 2025. I hereby would like to call up on those competent companies to actively engage in this endeavor either through constructing the industrial parks or by leasing the sheds that could help them to participate in manufacturing of different products.”
Ambassador Kuma also reminded the audience that his country’s Prime Minister, H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed, will be receiving the Nobel Peace Price next week. This is an appropriate recognition of the path Ethiopia has taken towards social, political and economic reform.
South Africa’s Chargé d’Affaires, Duncan Sebefelo discussed his country’s economic visions and plans, and the challenges and opportunities that exist today. He referenced the major investments China has made in key projects in his country. After the turn of the year, South Africa become the chairman of the AU, outlining the philosophical principles that the AU has for the economic cooperation projects. Mr. Sebefelo explained how important the BRI is for the development goals of the African continent.
The board member of BRIX, Hussein Askary, made a thorough presentation on “retooling Africa’s rise”. With the help of charts, pictures and maps, he showed how BRI is helping in realizing Africa’s goals. He emphasized that BRIX does not exist to cheer on China or Africa, who can take care of themselves. BRIX’s goal is that Sweden should be part of this process of cooperation and not miss the train towards economic prosperity and stability in the world. In order to achieve that, Sweden’s and Europe’s attitude towards Africa has to change first. He contrasted this attitude to that of China. While Sweden and the Eu considered Africa “a problem”, China considers Africa “an opportunity”. Askary explained that a major part of this problem is the “aid” mentality. He argued that the Chinese way of “empowering rather than helping”, which is to supply Africa with the “tools” for development such as infrastructure, industrialization and technology transfer is the most suitable for Sweden and Europe to follow. Under the heading “SDG acrobatics” (Sustainable Development Goals), he talked about how Sweden and the EU are redefining the UN development agenda in 2030, so that the most important priority goals to be addressed (poverty, hunger, healthcare, electricity education, water, industrialization, etc.) are placed at the bottom of the priority list, while Climate Action, goal no. 13, is at the top. In conclusion, he explained that with the help of China and the BRI, Africa is well on the way to realizing its Agenda 2063. But he asked how faster can this agenda be realized if Sweden and the EU contribute to it?
The Norwegian former member of parliamentary, and co-founder of Ichi Foundation, Mr. Thore Vestby, talked about the Norwegian cooperation with Africa, which has been largely restricted to aid through NORAD. But a new focus on cooperation has been established in 2012 through the Norwegian African Business Association by leading Norwegian companies (norwegianafrican.no). Norway also needs to establish cooperation with BRI, Vestby emphasized, and a shift in the attitude in Norway towards China and the BRI is necessary. He congratulated the Swedish BRIX for its successful work and announced that a “BRIX Norway” will be started in the new year.
BRIX member and private consultant, Mr. Lars Aspling, explained in his presentation that now 16 of 28 EU countries have already signed agreements (MOU) with China to cooperate with the BRI. This shows that such an agreement, or even a mere positive opinion on BRI, as France and Finland have expressed, need not necessarily to divide the EU. Although the Swedish government, with its proposal for a new China strategy, adheres to EU policy, there are, thus, no legal issues that hinder Sweden from joining the BRI. But only a lack of political will stands in the way, he stated. Aspling gave a tour of the necessary investments that need to be made in northern Europe, Scandinavia and Sweden to be able to rise to the levels of productivity necessary in the new BRI era.
Aspling seized the opportunity to announce that a new report that BRIX has just published about what BRI on the importance of Sweden’s cooperation with the BRI can now be downloaded from the BRIX website. (Https://www.brixsweden.org/brix-publicerar-en-ny-belt-and-road-speciell-rapport/).
The seminar’s moderator, Stephen Brawer, led the closing panel debate where the speakers answered questions fielded by the audience.
BRIX chairman Ulf Sandmark commented on the question and discussion about corruption in Africa by pointing out that BRI has a focus on real investments that are not handed over as sums of money like the investments made by the West. The BRI investments are delivered as cement, steel, machinery and input products for the projects. “Cement is difficult to put into a bank account, which means that BRI has an intrinsic mechanism to prevent corruption,” he said.
In closing the seminar, moderator Stephen Brawer again emphasized the need to present fact-based information and knowledge about BRI, and made a point of thanking the effort that TV100 and Fredrik Vargas make through their important work in reporting the proceedings of this seminar.
19 diplomats from 15 countries (mostly from Africa) participated in the seminar which was attended by 60 guests.
STOCKHOLM, Nov. 29(Greenpost) — Hunan Cultural and Tourism Promotion conference was successfully held at Sheraton Hotel in Stockholm on Friday.
Yu Xinrong, Secretary of Party Committee of Department of Culture and Tourism of Hunan Province, Central China said Hunan enjoys very rich tourism resources and has many cultural relics such as Yueyanglou Pagoda, Mawangdui cemetery, Maozedong’s hometown. The famous Zhangjiajie tourism spot was the shooting site for animation Avanda, its beauty has attracted many people.
Yu said that Hunan also has China’s largest lake Dongting Lake which stretches over 400 kilometers. Hunan has many ethnic minorities thus has rich culture. Hunan’s cuisine is famous for its hotness. The pheonix city and Furong Town are famous for its history.
The ancestors of the Chinese nation, Emperor Yan and Emperor Shun were buried in Hunan, Zeng Guofan and Zuo Zongtang were born in Hunan and became famous for their achievements in Chinese history. Hunan also boasts many ethnic groups which all have their own culture and traditions.
Yu Xinrong welcomed Swedish friends to visit Hunan and enjoyed the diversity in Hunan.
Cecilia Rahmqvist, Director of Laplands tourism bureau in northern Sweden also introduced Kiruna’s Ice Hotel, Tree Hotel and Ice tourism resources. She said that they used solar energy to keep the ice even in summer. She welcomed Chinese tourists to visit them.
Liu Fang, President of Hunan and Hubei Town-fellow Association in Sweden expressed her welcome to the Hunan delegation. She said her association has been promoting Hunan and Hubei culture in Sweden by holding Duanwu festival every year.
During the promotion conference, audience also watched promotion video which showed all the beautiful tourism resources and infrastructure in Hunan and impressed the audience a lot.
Cao Diefeng, Counselor of Education department of Chinese Embassy in Sweden also attended the conference.
Other guests include Zhu Jinchuan, General Manager of Air China in Stockholm, Zhang Shouting, President of Nordic China Sustainable Development Association and Ulf from BRIX.
During the promotion conference, a dozen of pictures showing the beauty of Hunan were also displayed.
STOCKHOLM, November 28(Greenpost)– While the trade negotiation between China and the US is underway at a critical time, news from Finland reaching here says that Finland’s exports in the food and beverage sector see a record high this year partly due to China’s demand of pork and other products.
The export forecast for 2019 is EUR 1.75 billion, which, if achieved, would represent a record high.
Entry into new markets, along with an increase in export volumes and prices, have contributed to an increase in the value of exports. Awareness of the growth potential available through exports has grown in the food and beverage sector. New export companies have participated in the Food from Finland programme created by Business Finland and funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. The food authorities and other promoter organisations have also significantly contributed towards the export growth.
Products in particularly strong demand this year have included dairy products, oats, other foodstuffs and alcohol products. Countries where export growth has been visible include China, where there has been a particular demand for pork and powdered milk.
The value of food imports to Finland was triple the value of our exports at EUR 4.6 billion in 2018. Many of the products being imported are not produced or manufactured in Finland. In order to reduce the trade deficit, it would be important to increase the added value of exports.
The food industry is a significant industry in Finland
According to preliminary figures for 2018, the total turnover of the food industry was around EUR 11.2 billion, showing an increase of 4% on the previous year. The food industry employs some 38,000 people directly, and as many as 340,000 indirectly.
– Finnish consumers buy domestic, responsibly produced foods, which means the food industry will continue to be a very important sector in Finland. But in addition, Finnish products and raw materials are increasingly finding their way onto the plates and into the glasses of international consumers, too, says Leena Hyrylä, Food Industry Sector Manager at the Southeast Finland ELY Centre.
Food and beverage companies continue to seek growth
The sector barometer for the manufacture of food products indicates that SMEs in the food sector continue to be growth-driven. More than half of the SMEs that responded said they were pursuing growth; 22 per cent said they sought powerful growth, while 43 per cent said they would tap into any growth opportunities available. According to the barometer, SMEs in the food sector, especially in the beverage sector, were more growth-oriented than companies in comparable sectors.
SMEs in the food sector were more optimistic about the general outlook for the economy than other Finnish SMEs and those engaged in comparable sectors. However, expectations are down on the previous year.
The business environment is changing rapidly, placing a stronger focus on the consumer and on continued renewal. The food sector is influenced by current trends and themes such as climate change, demographic changes, scarce resources, digitalisation and technological advancement in general. Consumer awareness and expectations for products and food services are rising. Responsibility, wellbeing and domestic origin are rising trends.
Business Sector Services
A network of expertsled by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
compiles, analyses and communicates information avout the business enviroment for decision-making purposes
the objective is to facilitate the succes, growth and internationalisation of Finnish companies.
SME sector reports are based on an annual SME Barometer commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Federation of Finnish Enterprises and Finnvera Oyj. The SME Barometer conducted in the autumn of 2019 is based on responses from representatives of 6,133 small and medium-sized enterprises. The survey was conducted in summer 2019. Responses were provided by 196 SMEs in the food sector.
Chinese has a saying that the earth is round and if the sun is not shining in the east, it must be shining in the west. Or if not in the north, it must be in the south. Please do not just hang yourself in one tree.
STOCKHOLM, Nov. 27(Greenpost, chineseonline) — While the dark and rainy weather made people sad and lonely, a warm Xinjiang Photo Exhibition has been held in Stockholm recently.
The exhibition was held by Green Post(www.greenpost.se) and Chinese Online(www.chineseonline.se) in cooperation with China Europe Cultural Association and ABF(Swedish Workers Association) at the citykonferensen in Stockholm.
Xuefei Chen Axelsson, Chief Editor and photographer of Green Post and freelance journalist said the exhibition came against the background that she was invited to attend a journalistic trip to Xinjiang in August 2018 together with journalists from 13 countries along the belt and road routes. And after that she went to Xinjiang twice respectively in March to Turpan after the National People’s Congress and National Day celebration in Beijing to personally experience the atmosphere in Urumqi city, capital of Xinjiang Ugyor Autonomous Region.
“I was impressed by the journeys and felt that Xinjiang now is very safe to travel and the cultural and tourist resources were rich. During my journey, I can feel business in Grand Bazar is booming and the ugyors dancing and singing were wonderful. Thus, I like to share this feelings and impressions with all the people who are interested in Xinjiang. “said Chen Axelsson.
The purpose is to share the information about the living picture in Xinjiang. The exhibition focuses on Xinjiangs infrastructure such as the fast train, subways and wide road, busy business in Grandbazar, music and art, dancing, beautiful scenery and environmental protection.
To let people have a taste of Xinjiang music and song, Luan Dehan played violin Why the flower is so red.
Artist Zhu Yingying sang the song which was about love between a woman and a ugyor soldier and moved all the audience. A whole generation of people were moved by the film and the song in China’s 80s.
Duan Maoli, President of Swedish Anhui Sci-Tech and Commerce Association expressed his appreciation for the exhibition.
“I would like to say thanks to Xuefei for holding such an exhibition. The media under her leadership is a professional media. With this exhibition, we can see the beautiful Xinjiang and the safe Xinjiang. I like to say it should be A beautiful Xinjiang forever!”
Zhu Jinchuan, General Manager of Air China in Stockholm also looked at the exhibition.
He said it was impressive to see these photos. Watching these beautiful pictures let people feel the life there is quite colourful and it is easy to visit there with Air China because the airlines can fly there directly from Beijing. It can also fly directly to other cities.
Journalists from PROFOCA and FPA attended the exhibition. Swedish innovation entrepreneur Skycab manager Åker Aredal also attended the exhibition. He was quite excited to see President Xi’s photo with Ugyor people and even recalled the moment when he was with President Xi and presented him a letter.
During the exhibition, Xuefei Chen Axelsson also made a presentation about the pictures and added more pictures about the daily lives there in the Grand Bazar. She illustrated the stories behind every photo.
During the exhibition, Axelsson also answered some questions.
Many visitors said they learnt a lot about Xinjiang and felt glad that the situation is safe and secure and life is lively there. Some even said they like to visit Xinjiang some day.