Container traffic on China's Yangtze River surged to a record 5.54 million twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) in 2007, an increase of 38% over the previous year. Reporting in Yantze Transport 2008: Accessing China's Interior, David Lammie and Zhang Tingting note that cargo throughput of the major ports along the Yangtze trunk line stood at 918 million tonnes in 2007, up 16.6% from 2006.
“Despite these upward trends, the river is a heavily underutilized transport resource,” say the authors. Ongoing dredging at the mouth of the Yangtze River is one factor that has contributed to the surge in overall shipping volumes. “Indeed, massive investment along the length of the river, along with its supporting road, rail and air cargo network, is rapidly changing China's economic landscape.”
In addition to major projects like the Three Gorges Dam, money is also being poured in at a local level. The Chongqing municipal government, for instance, invested RMB 27 billion ($3.9 billion) in transportation infrastructure in 2007, an increase of 124% over the prior year's investment. In January 2008, Sichuan signed an agreement with the Ministry of Railways to build six railway lines with a total length of 4,900 km that will connect Chengdu to neighboring provincial capital of Guiyang, Lanzhou, Kunming, Xian and Wuhan.
The publication, Yangtze Transport 2008, is available for €190 ($369) at www.yangtzebusinessservices.com