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'Mother river' set to reap rewards of development

By Luo Wangshu and Tan Yingzi in Chongqing | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-23 07:43

Containers and bulk cargo carriers will be encouraged to use a combination of rail and water routes, raising the efficiency of intermodal transportation services.

Last year, the river carried a record volume of cargo. Throughput at the ship locks of the Three Gorges and Gezhouba hydropower projects both surpassed 130 million tons, a rise of 8.3 percent from 2015, according to data issued by the Yangtze River Navigational Affairs Administration.

Throughput along the entire main waterway was nearly 2.3 billion tons last year, up 6 percent from 2015, and river ports also realized throughput of 330 million tons in foreign trade.

When fully operational, Guoyuan Port will also improve transshipment efficiency.

Two advanced hydraulic tipping machines, known locally as "dunnos", which tip freight train carriages to transfer cargo, have been installed, improving loading efficiency.

"For example, a train carrying 3,000 tons of bulk cargo can be unloaded by one dunno in about an hour-without it, the process takes up to six hours," Zhang said.

The advanced equipment will also help the port to reduce losses during transshipment. "We can maintain low rates of losses and damaged goods, which will win customers," he added.

Remaining challenges

Transportation on the Yangtze River is affected by the shallow waters and limited volume of shipping passing through the Three Gorges Dam in the middle stretches of the river.

To serve the economic belt, reforms aimed at unifying administration and services have been implemented, boosting the vitality of navigation along the river, according to Tang Guanjun, head of the Yangtze River Navigational Affairs Administration, overseeing by the Ministry of Transport.

The ministry has promoted the use of standard gauge vessels to allow more ships to pass through the locks at the same time.

"For example, if eight ships of various shapes and sizes can pass through the lock at the same time, then there would be no problem with 10 standardized ships passing through together," said Chen, from Chongqing Jiangsheng Automobile Logistics.

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