Direct transport and postal services between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan have brought great benefits for people on both sides and promoted cross-Strait trade, a mainland spokeswoman said Wednesday. Direct air transport, sea transport and postal services, which began Dec. 15, 2008, have created sound conditions for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, said Fan Liqing, spokeswoman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council at a press conference. Previously, all such services had to be routed through a third location, such as Hong Kong. As of the end of September, passenger flights had carried some 29 million passengers between the mainland and Taiwan, while cargo flights had transported 545,000 tonnes of goods, according to Fan. So far, direct sea transportation can be conducted across the Strait among 85 ports, and the island can by reached by sea from the mainland in as little as two and a half hours, said Fan. Postal services, including letter delivery, express and remittance, are also operating smoothly, Fan added. During the past five years, trade between the mainland and Taiwan has grown at an average rate of 10 percent annually against the background of global economic downturn, said the spokeswoman. The mainland approved 12,135 Taiwanese investment projects between January 2009 and October 2013, with an actual use of investment of 11.1 billion U.S. dollars, she said. Since mainland enterprises were allowed to invest on the island in 2009, they have invested more than 1 billion U.S. dollars in 193 projects, Fan said.