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Jingzhou

Jingzhou is situated in the mid-south of Hubei province, with Wuhan to its east and the Three Gorges Dam to the west. The municipal area contains 6.46m people, while the population of the urban area is 750,000. It is Hubei’s second largest city in terms of area and population, after the provincial capital Wuhan.

Situated amid a dense network of waterways and lakes, Jingzhou has been a transportation and distribution centre since ancient times. It has also been a place of strategic military importance and the site of many battles. The city has one of the best-preserved ancient city walls in China.

The Yangtze flooded the city many times in its history, and so no industries were built along its riverbank – a fact that Jingzhou is now looking to remedy. The Three Gorges Dam, fully opened in 2009, should bring a lasting solution to the problem.

Today’s Jingzhou lacks the dynamism of its neighbour, Yichang. One of the reasons for this is a lack of political and administrative continuity. Jingzhou is often regarded as a stepping-stone to higher office, which means that new mayors seldom have time to follow through with their plans for the city. Occasional interruptions in electricity supply and the quality of the labour force are additional problems for companies operating in the city.

Important local industries include textiles, light industry, chemicals, machinery, foodstuffs, auto parts, metallurgy and electrical appliances. Jingzhou is also famous for producing rice, cotton and fish, and it is home to one of China’s national reserve grain warehouses.

Established in 1988, Tianfa Group was a conglomerate involved mainly in finished oil products and liquefied petroleum gas. It later moved into other sectors, such as agricultural by-products and paper-making, but has run into serious difficulties in recent years. Its founder Gong Jialong was arrested in 2006 on suspicion of financial irregularities and corruption. Jingzhou city government then took over Tianfa and initiated a restructuring to allow the company to deal with its financial troubles and to bring in strategic investors.

Remy International, the US-based manufacturer of electrical components, diesel engines and power systems, operates an alternator plant that supplies major domestic car-makers in China. Philips runs a plant in Jingzhou with an annual output of 150m units of standard auto lighting equipment, the largest plant of its kind in Asia.

Guangdong-based home appliances manufacturer Midea has a refrigerator and freezer production base in Jingzhou. In January 2010 it signed an agreement with the city government to invest an additional Rmb400m in the plant.

The Jingzhou Yangtze River Highway Bridge extends National Highway 207 across the Yangtze. The highway, which runs from Xilinhot in Inner Mongolia to Haian in Jiangsu province, connects with National Highway 318 and with the Yichang-Huangshi, Jingzhou-Xiangfan and Jingzhou-Changde expressways. The Taiyuan-Macau Highway also passes through Jingzhou. Expressway connects Jingzhou with Wuhan, three hours’ car journey to the east, and Yichang, one-and-a-quarter hours’ drive to the west.

Two railways run through Jingzhou: the line from Jiaozuo in Henan to Liuzhou in Guangxi is a national trunk line, while the Jingzhou-Shashi railway is a local line used mainly for cargo transport. The Wuhan-Yichang line, which also passes through the city, was opened to traffic in 2005. Another railway line is planned from Jingzhou to Yueyang in neighbouring Hunan province. The Wuhan-Yichang high-speed passenger railway line, currently being constructed, will pass through JIngzhou. The railway is a part of the Shanghai-Wuhan-Chengdu high-speed line. When completed in early 2012, the journey time between Jingzhou and Wuhan will be cut to one hour.

With its central location in southern Hubei, Jingzhou is an important hub on the north bank of the middle reaches of the Yangtze. The port has 107 berths and can accommodate vessels up to 3,000dwt. It has four dedicated rail lines serving its two major cargo terminals and this means that it is capable of providing multimodal transport services. Jingzhou also boasts the only public bonded warehouse in the region.

The port handles bulk shipments of ore, coal, grain, steel, mining construction materials, chemical raw materials and finished goods, machinery and light textiles.

Yanka container terminal went into operation in 1998. Rapid expansion necessitated a major expansion, the first phase of which was completed in 2007. Phase Two expansion at Yanka is a priority for investment and construction work is near completion. The second phase includes a building to house the Customs and quarantine facilities.

In recent years, the port has struggled to cope with increasing demand for the transhipment of dangerous goods, and another project involves the construction of a dedicated terminal for such goods, located 8km downstream of Yanka. Shishou, a county-level city of Jingzhou, is constructing an industrial terminal with a projected annual capacity of 1.55m tons.

Overall, the city plans to invest a total of Rmb1.1bn between 2006 and 2010 on port and channel renovation and construction, to increase throughput capacity to 25m tons and 100,000 TEU by 2010. Key future projects include the Douhudi and Xuetangzhou breakbulk quays and a tourism terminal.

If you want to read more about Jingzhou, its leading companies, major investment zones, transport network, port infrastructure and the logistics experience of FIEs in the city, click here to order an e-version of the city profile for £15. Alternatively, for information on all the major Yangtze port cities and much else besides, click here to buy Yangtze Transport: Accessing China's Interior for £85.
     
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