Shipping company Coscon and Japan Freight Railway are to launch a joint non-air express logistics service between the two countries to counter a dramatic drop in regional freight rates. 'Some of the shipping lines are offering zero prices on carrying cargo from China to Japan,' said a management spokesman at Coscon, a subsidiary of Cosco Holdings. 'We will be able to charge our customers US$200 to US$300 per box by providing this inter-modal door-to-door shuttle service.' Under the plan, Cosco will move mainly home electronics and clothing from factories in China through mainland ports to Moji, Nagoya and Tokyo. They would then be distributed by Japan Freight Railway to the cities of Fukuoka or Kanto. Vehicles and electronic parts would be shipped in the opposite direction from Japan to China. The initiative comes more than five years after Coscon launched its fixed-day, fixed-time container delivery service between China and Japan which sold itself on the comparatively shorter time it took to clear Sino-Japanese customs. 'Normally, cargo has to be loaded two hours before launch. However, our customers can enjoy last-minute loading thanks to the special treatment granted by the two customs [jurisdictions],' said the spokesman, adding that exporters would be able to ship their cargo faster with shorter notice. 'Although not as quick as by air, it's cheaper.' The service will be launched through a 100 per cent-owned subsidiary of Coscon in Japan with a registered capital of 10 million yen ($659,350). The venture allows Coscon to expand its network into more Japanese cities where inbound ground transport is not open to non-Japanese companies.