[photopress:yangtze_river_traffic.JPG,full,alignright]Li Shenglin, minister of communications, has stated that inland shipping is likely to play a more important role in China’s cargo transportation.
At the moment rail and road transport carry the bulk of the cargo within China but major inland waterways will be developed in next 15 years to share a larger percentage of the freight.
He said at an international inland shipping forum on the Yangtze River, ‘The Chinese government welcomes foreign capital and social funds to invest in inland waterway projects.’
At present inland shipping relies heavily on natural waterways, which restrict cargo transportation’s development. The ministry plans to overcome the problem by dredging the waterways and building major shipping channels in the next five to 15 years.
Priority will be given to the Yangtze River, Pearl River and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. Inland ports, including those in Chongqing Municipality, Wuhan in Hubei Province, Changsha in Hunan Province and Nanchang in Jiangxi Province, will be developed with berths for handling containers, ore, coal, petroleum and food.
Inland shipping has the capability to carry large amounts of cargo at a lower cost and is more energy saving and environmentally friendly than other modes of transport.
According to a senior official last year the inland shipping industry attracted RMB23 billion ($2.9 billion) in investments from multiple sources. He said, ‘But foreign investors haven’t got involved in inland shipping business yet. They are more interested in harbors and container transport business, which has a predictable return.’
The existing length of inland waterways is 123,000 kilometers, which accounts for 29 percent of the total length of rivers.
The Yangtze, the only river that connects eastern, middle and western China, is the busiest in the country. The 6,300-kilometer-long river accounts for 80 percent of China’s inland cargo shipping volume.
Source: TDC Trade