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News

Shiplocks reach full capacity 19 years ahead of schedule

7 December 2011
The China Yangtze Three Gorges Corporation, the company that builds and operates the Three Gorges dam and shiplocks, announced on 28 November that the cargo volume going upstream so far this year had reached 50.18m tons. When the facility was first designed, the assumption was that one-way traffic volume would not pass 50m tons until 2030.

The cargo volume going downstream is typically greater than the upstream total as most finished products are transported eastwards for consumers in coastal regions or overseas. However, the Sichuan earthquake in 2008 changed matters in that relief efforts continue today to repair damaged roads and re-build houses. As a result, the traffic volume of construction materials going upstream has increased rapidly in recent years.

It has been clear for some time that the designers of the dam and shiplocks woefully underestimated future shipping demand, but the challenge to overcome the bottleneck remains real and serious.

     
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