Tibet has saved 173 million yuan (22.8 million U.S. dollars) of transportation costs in the 11 months since the operation of Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the first to link Tibet with the rest of China.
The 1,956-km-long railway, running from Xining, capital of northwestern Qinghai Province, and Lhasa, capital of southwestern Tibet Autonomous Region, transported 591,000 tons of cargo between July 1 last year and May 30 this year, Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the regional government, has said.
Most of the cargo, or 94.4 percent, was carried into Tibet, he told a meeting of celebration on Friday marking the anniversary of the opening of the railway.
He said that the charge rate of freight transport by railway is 0.12 yuan per ton km, much less than that by highway, or 0.27 yuan, and he reckoned that 293.4 yuan can be saved for a ton of cargo from Xining to Lhasa.
"Well then, Tibet has saved 173 million yuan of transportation costs in almost a year since the opening of the railway, compared with the past when there were no trains," he said.
The reduction of high transportation costs has also raised Tibet's external trade by 75 percent to reach 322 million U.S. dollars in the 10 months since the opening of the railway, Lhasa Customs statistics show.
The figure broke down into 100 million dollars of imports and 222 million dollars of exports during the period between July 1 last year and April 30 this year, up 170 percent and 51 percent respectively, statistics show.
Analysts say that the railway has boosted the flow of commodities between China and south Asian nations and regions.