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Call to increase spending on Yangtze

9 November 2011
More money needs to be spent on improving the Yangtze River’s navigability, according to Bronson Hsieh, vice-chairman of Taiwan’s Evergreen Group. He was speaking at the recent World Shipping (China) Summit at Boao, Hainan province.

Mr Hsieh cited Ministry of Communications’ figures showing that cargo volumes at inland ports had been growing faster than at coastal ones. In 2010, volumes at inland ports grew 18.1 per cent to 2.6bn tonnes in freight, compared with a 15.3 per cent rise to 5.5bn tonnes at sea ports.

Another speaker at the conference, Liu Xihan, president of Sinotrans & CSC Holdings, said 1.3bn tonnes was handled by ports along the Yangtze last year. This is expected to rise to 1.7bn tonnes by 2020.

According to South China Morning Post, Mr Hsieh said traffic on the Yangtze would run smoother only if the Jingjiang section could be improved, referring to the 347km stretch of river between Zhicheng in Hubei province and Chenglingji in Hunan. He said the section was often congested with shipping, especially during the dry season when low water levels reduce the size of vessel that can sail on the river.

Mr Hsieh complained of a lack of investment to improve the navigability of the Yangtze, with the funds spent on river improvements in the 11th five-year plan equivalent to just 3.6 per cent of the total invested in the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway. He said money spent on the Yangtze was amounted to just 0.4 per cent of total railway spending.

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