Alataw Pass Port is situated 73 kilometers from Bole City, the prefectural government seat of Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture. It is 460 kilometers from Urumqi. Just a dozen kilometers across the border is Kazakhstan's Druzhba Port of Almaty Prefecture, 580 kilometers Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan. The Alataw Pass Port, which handles goods shipped by both railway and highway, formally opened in June 1992 with approval from the State Council. In August 1992, China and Kazakhstan agreed to open it to a third country, making it an international port.
Alataw Pass is an important railway port on the Eurasian Continental Bridge. In July 1991, the port began handling cargo business on a temporary basis. On June 21, 1992, passenger trains began running between Almaty and Urumqi and on December 1, 1992, the port launched international railway through transport. The highway port of Alataw formally opened in October 1993.
To date 156 facilities have been set up here, including a 4,800-square-meter railway station, five transshipment yards (three of them closed transshipment storehouses), 10 wide gauge and 16 standard gauge lines, and 10 transshipping lines, goods yards and train maintenance sections. Ten million tons of commodities are handled every year and more than 100,000 passengers transported.
The administrative area of the port is 155 square kilometers, with 15 square kilometers of urban area. Total fixed assets exceed 600 million yuan (US$72.5 million). A new commercial and trade city is taking shape.
The Alataw Pass Port is China's gateway on the Second Eurasia Continental Bridge. It plays a significant role in Xinjiang's foreign trade and China's border opening and economic development. It also helps to shorten the routes between Japan and South Korea and the West, enhancing their trade and economic development as well.
In 2002, 81,000 persons and 9,900 vehicles passed through the railway or highway ports, with 5.9 million tons of goods imported or exported. Since 1995, the Alataw Pass Port has been ranked No. 2 among China's railway ports.
(China.org.cn December 15, 2004)