China aims to boost industries along Yangtze River

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China plans to get more freight moving along the Yangtze River to allow industries to prosper on the banks of the country's longest waterway connecting Shanghai all the way to the nation's vibrant western economic regions, analysts said Tuesday.

The 6,418-kilometer Yangtze River is already the world's busiest freight waterway for the sixth straight year. About 1.5 billion tonnes of cargo were transported on the Yangtze and its tributaries last year, figures released by transportation authorities show.

Two-fifths of China's top 500 companies are located along the Yangtze and most of the industrial materials used by these companies are transported by river freight, said Tang Guanjun, head of the Yangtze Navigation Administration, Ministry of Transport.

China's State Council, or the Cabinet, has set a goal to raise the country's inland river freight capability to 3 billion tonnes per year by 2020. This means the average tonnage for cargo ships moving on the Yangtze is set to almost double to 1,600 tonnes by the end of 2015, Tang said.

Major ports along the Yangtze River handled 1.39 billion tonnes of cargo in 2010, up 22.3 percent compared with the previous year.

Also, the river's shipment volume of foreign trade goods expanded by 16.5 percent to 169 million tonnes in 2010 from one year earlier.

"A boost in Yangtze's freight capability will facilitate the country's economic restructuring and the relocation of industries," Tang said.

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