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World Bank finances China's waterway project
The World Bank (WB) Friday approved a US$100 million loan for the China Third Inland Waterways Project, which will help break transport and energy bottlenecks in south Hunan Province.
The project will improve market access for the remote inland areas of the province, provide more efficient and economic inland waterway transport, and generate power to supplement the needs of the remote areas, according to sources with WB China residence.
"The project will benefit nearly 6 million inhabitants of Hunan Province," says Toshiro Tsutsumi, Task Manager for the project.
The project will tap the earning potential of vessel operators, shipping companies, and those manufacturers and producers in nearby cities and counties that are within the project service area.
Infrastructure improvement, particularly in the inland provinces, is a vital part on China's development agenda. The project, which includes improvement of navigation and hydropower, aims to improve the economic well-being of the majority of the poorest families along the Xiangjiang River in Hunan Province.
The project will remove dangerous shoals, upgrade 157 kilometers of waterway, and create a deeper channel along the Xiangjiang River in order to enhance the safety and productivity of the Inland Waterways system.
These improvements will allow a more efficient mix of vessel sizes to use the waterway, and will reduce their travel time.
In addition, 640.5 million kilowatts of power will be produced annually for Hunan Province.
The main components of the project include construction of the Zhuzhou dam and shiplock complex, provision of power-generating capability, upgrading of the Xiangtan-Zhuzhou section of the Xiangjiang Waterway by dredging, and technical assistance for training and the development of containerization along Xiangjiang River.
The total project cost is estimated at US$220 million, with the Chinese government financing the remaining costs.
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