Chinese freight market now open to foreign players

<p>China will allow foreign companies to enter joint ventures in the domestic railway cargo market from this year as a first step toward the total opening up of the business.</p> <p>After five decades of a tightly controlled monopoly, the Ministry Of Railways made its first profit in 1999, then earned $60m in 2000. </p> <p>Despite the better figures, the railway’s iron grip on transport has been under attack with the opening of highways and new airports.</p> <p>The plan follows China’s promise to open the market to foreign companies after joining the World Trade Organization. </p> <p>For the first two years, foreigners will only be afforded a minority share, then they can do majority share deals from 2004.</p> <p>For foreign transport companies, the new rules are of interest in general breakbulk cargo areas such as depots, space chartering and transport ventures.</p> <br />