A new air cargo route has been launched between Pakistan and China to further enhance trade ties between the two all-weather allies, ahead of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's visit to Beijing next week.

According to the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan news agency, the new air cargo route inaugurated on May 28 links Guizhou, China with Karachi, Pakistan.

The route was launched with the departure of an all-cargo plane carrying six tonnes of freight, including clothing, electronics, and various commodities, from Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou, China Economic Net (CEN) reported.

After nearly six hours of flight time, the plane arrived in Karachi. It was to return to Guiyang loaded with blue crabs from Pakistan, according to Guiyang Customs.

The flights on the route were planned to be operated three times a week, carrying goods including hardware accessories, clothing fabrics, and electronic accessories.

This air route is significant as it marks the first direct connection between Guizhou and Pakistan, as well as the first air freight route linking the province with a Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) country.

Officials believe that this new route will help establish Guiyang as a cargo distribution centre in southwest China and reduce the time for Pakistan’s quality fresh products to reach Guizhou.

The inauguration of the Guiyang-Karachi air cargo route is expected to facilitate trade between the two regions, according to the APP report.

In January, the two countries launched an air cargo route connecting Ezhou Huahu Airport in central China’s Hubei province with Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore.

The air cargo link comes ahead of the five-day official visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif from June 4. He will meet the top Chinese businessmen to seek more investments in the second phase of the Pak-China Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.

Sharif is expected to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang and other leaders to draw a blueprint to strengthen bilateral ties further, as the all-weather allies seek to upgrade cooperation under the multi-billion dollar CPEC.