WUHU, Anhui--- The Yangtze River ‘s deepwater channel from Wuhu in Anhui province to Nanjing in Jiangsu province has bee n extended 101 kilometers this year, river administrators said Friday.
The extension will allow ships carrying 30,000 tons of cargo to harbor in Wuhu during the Yangtze River’s annual flood season from June to September.
Wan Dabin, deputy chief engineer of the Wuhan-based Yangtze waterway bureau, told China Daily that the depth of channel maintenance in lower reaches of the river section from Nanjing to Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, has been increased by 1.5 meters to a depth of 10.5 meters during the flood season. The water depth during the river basin’s dry season will increase to 9 meters from 7.5 meters, Wan said.
The Yangtze River, the world’s largest inland shipping river, has 2,838 kilometers of shipping channels. After the Nanjing-to-Wuhu deepwater channel is expanded, this deepwater channel will measure 438 kilometers.
“This new channel will make the regional economic connection closer between the Yangtze River Delta and the inland area,” Wan said.
Wuhu, located in southeastern Anhui province, connects the Yangtze River Delta to Central China.
Wan said export-oriented economic growth has increased the need for container transportation of foreign trade goods and also larger-scale transportation ships. “Goods such as coal, oil and ore were mass transported to inland cities in recent years.” Wan said.
Chen Zongping, deputy manager of the Wuhu branch of Changjiang Shipping Group Phoenix Co Ltd, told China Daily that since the deepwater channel opened, the cost of shipping 10,000 tons to 30,000 tons by seagoing vessels has been reduced by one-third.
“It will also promote the transportation capacity of my company, increasing my capacity by 5 percent to 10 percent this year,” Chen said. The transportation capacity of his company was about 1.1 million tons in 2010.
Wan said the deepwater channel will produce great economic benefits.
The Ministry of Transportation reported that the Yangtze River achieved a cargo volume of 1.5 billion tons in 2010, and that shipping along the Yangtze River directly contributed 120 billion yuan to the economy.
Wang Qufa contributed to the story.