(Yicai Global) May 14 -- Local authorities in Wuhan, capital of China’s central Hubei province, will invest CNY1.5 billion (USD237 million) to increase the handling capacity at its midstream Yangtze River ports to 200 million tons a year by 2020.
Wuhan aims to establish itself as a shipping hub, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the city’s transport commission. The city will build a new trade service center, improve channels, extend the container wharf, and install new fitting-out berths. It will also invest CNY34.5 billion in the construction of an expressway, linking up Hubei’s key cities and surrounding provinces by 2020.
Wuhan represents a core city in the economic zone of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, which also acts as the largest sea-land-air traffic hub in mainland China. It sits at the center of a cluster of eight major cities including Huangshi and Ezhou, which make up over 60 percent of Hubei’s gross domestic product.
The waterways' expansion will enable the passage of 2,000-ton vessels, while the service trading center will create business opportunities in finance, insurance, and e-commerce sectors.
The Yangtze is the world's busiest inland river in terms of main waterway cargo volume, according to the Yangtze River Navigational Affairs Administration of the Ministry of Transport. Total cargo volume on its main channel rose 8.2 percent last year to 2.5 billion tons, while the average tonnage of ships has grown to 1,630 tons.
Editors: Emmi Laine, William Clegg