BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly 2019/14

The Amur River, that flows into the Pacific Ocean, and its tributaries form the roughly 4,000-kilometre long border between Russia and China in the Far East. To improve the lack of bridges across the Amur, China and Russia began building a rail bridge in 2014. China finished its part of the bridge in 2016, but the Russian part was connected to the Chinese side only in March 2019. The bridge is set to open later this year. In 2016, the countries began to construct a trans-border road traffic bridge that should be completed next year.

The new rail bridge is located near the small Chinese city of Tongjiang at the confluence of the Songhua River. This spot is connected by rail to the large Chinese city of Harbin and to the Russian Trans-Siberia railroad. It was already possible earlier to use the Trans-Manchurian line running through Harbin to reach the Trans-Siberian line in Vladivostok to the east and Chita to the west. Additionally, there is a rail connection from Beijing through Mongolia to Russia’s Ulan-Ude. It seems that an important use of the new bridge will be to facilitate iron ore transport from mines on the Russian side of the border to China. The new road traffic bridge is located at the confluence of the Zeya River, allowing crossing between Blagoveshchensk on the Russian side and Heihe on the Chinese side. A freeway runs directly from Heihe to Harbin.