Shanghai container volumes to rise 10%
Shanghai Port – the world’s busiest port in terms of container traffic – expects volumes to increase about 10% annually for the next five years, as more manufacturers move operations to western and inland China to take advantage of cheaper labor costs. Cargo volumes have increased along the Yangtze River, which passes through territories including Chongqing, Sichuan and Anhui. Shanghai Port handled 1.34 billion tons of cargo in 2009 – more than triple the volume of 2000. Chen Xuyuan, president of the harbor operator Shanghai International Port (Group) said container traffic may rise 12% this year, which would likely mean Shanghai would retain its lead in cargo-box volumes over Singapore.
Yangshan Port starts fourth-phase expansion
Shanghai will soon start the fourth phase of expansion at Yangshan Port, a project estimated to cost more than US$1.5 billion, that will increase the deepwater port’s handling capacity by 40%. The expansion is due to be completed by 2015. It will have an annual capacity of 4 million 20-foot equipment units (teu). Last year, Yangshan Port – located on the Yangshan Islands, which are connected to the mainland by a 32-kilometer bridge – handled 10 million teus, exceeding its existing designed capacity of 9.3 million at its three completed phases.
State Council to unify logistics tax, reduce tolls
China’s cabinet unveiled eight measures in June that aim to reduce transportation tolls and provide tax breaks for the logistics sector. The State Council has pledged to expand a pilot program that exempts firms from paying duplicated taxes or different points of the same transportation job. At present, a 3% business tax rate is levied on transportation, loading and handling; while 5% is levied on warehousing, distribution and freight agency services. The cabinet is also calling for improvements to the land use tax policy on warehousing facilities, as well as reducing highway tolls, which currently account for one-third of logistics costs.
Qingdao opens record-breaking bridge
A cross-sea bridge spanning Jiaozhou Bay in Qingdao was officially opened on June 30, highlighting the coastal city’s efforts to raise its status as an international shipping center. The 41.6-kilometer, eight-lane Qingdao Jiaozhou Bay Bridge cost US$2.3 billion and is the world’s longest cross-sea bridge. The transport route shortens travel times between Qingdao’s downtown and Huangdao Economic and Development Zone from 40 minutes to about 20 minutes. It will also help facilitate travel from the eastern tip of Qingdao – Yantai and Weihai – to central Shandong province’s Rizhao and Linyi, and even the northern areas of neighboring Jiangsu province. Construction for the bridge started in May 2007.
Beijing-Shanghai bullet train opens
China’s new high-speed rail from Beijing to Shanghai completed its inaugural run on June 30, an event that not only highlighted the country’s technological achievements but also sparked controversy over mega-investment projects. Proponents of the US$300 billion high-speed rail network say it will slash travel times and help boost economic development in China’s western regions. But corruption, safety and environmental issues have pushed the Railways Ministry to reduce the speed of its bullet trains and stop work on some lines. China’s leaders moved up the completion time of the US$33 billion Beijing-Shanghai route by a year as part of its economic stimulus plan during the global recession in 2008.