China / News

Once-obscure island on course to economic fame

By Bian Yi (China Daily) Updated: 2009-10-17 11:38

Before a small, little-known island, Caofeidian is emerging as a new star along the Bohai Bay for its robust growth momentum and development potential.

With natural conditions for developing large deepwater harbors, modern harbor industries and an environmentally friendly city, construction of the district has been listed in the nation's 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10).

Unveiled as a new district in March, Caifeidian entered a new stage in its history.

The new district, 70 km to the south of downtown Tangshan, is planned to cover a total area of about 1,944 sq km and include the Caofeidian Industrial Zone, Nanbao Economic Development Zone, Caofeidian new city and Tanghai county.

Recent years saw more than 40 State leaders visit the island. Among them, President Hu Jintao noted during his trip to the island in 2006 that the area is a treasure to be tapped. He encouraged local authorities to develop the island into a model for sustained growth.

Once-obscure island on course to economic fame

A year later, Premier Wen Jiabao also made an inspection tour of Caofeidian and proposed building the island into a first-class international port.

At the same time, some 60,000 businesspeople and investors from home and abroad have also been attracted to the bustling area.

Shougang Group, one of China's steelmaking giants, has moved its operations to Caofeidian and is expected to generate an annual steel output of 10 million tons before 2010. China National Offshore Oil Corp has begun a number of projects in the area, including a 48-sq-km machinery and equipment park.

As well, a 50 billion yuan energy project has been signed with China Huadian Corp. Other projects totaling more than 3 billion yuan have already begun construction.

According to a development blueprint mapped out by local authorities, Caofeidian is designed to become a port and storage base for bulk goods, energy resources and minerals, a new industrial center and a model State-level recycling economy.

With a 62-km-long coastline, the island is planned to have more than 260 berths for minerals, coal, crude oil, liquefied natural gas, chemicals and containers, including 16 berths each with a handling capacity of at least 300,000 tons.

After all the berths are completed, Caofeidian will become one of the world's largest ports with an annual throughput surpassing 500 million tons.

In addition, five industries - logistics, iron and steel, machine and equipment manufacturing, petrochemicals and maritime chemicals - have been designated as pillar sectors of local economy.

In the first half of this year, 32.8 billion yuan was invested in the new district. About 100 billion yuan is expected to be invested in the area for the entire year.


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