Construction of the Yangshan Deep-water Port will go into full gear shortly so that the first phase of the project can be operational by 2005, Shanghai officials said on Saturday.
To mark the one-year anniversary of the milestone project on Saturday, top officials from Shanghai government briefed visiting central government officials and neighboring Zhejiang Province leaders about the project's progress.
The mega-port project, which is located on two islands in the Eastern China Sea, will turn the city into the shipping hub of the northeast Asian region, officials expect.
Chinese communist Party Shanghai Committee Secretary Chen Liangyu, together with Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng, promised to put the first phase -- comprising five port berths and a 31.8-kilometer bridge -- into use by the end of 2005.
The bridge linking Luchaogang in the city's southeastern Nanhui District with Small Yangshan, the smaller of the two islands, has advanced by 3.6 kilometers, with 1.2 kilometers over the sea.
Because the two islands are located within Zhejiang Province, the new port is expected to boost economic development and exchange between Shanghai and Zhejiang, as well as for the entire Yangtze River Delta region.
Concerning the relationship between Yangshan port and those in Ningbo, a coastal Zhejiang city with deep-water ports, local officials said the two ports would complement each other instead of competing as the two will serve different freight sources.
"We regard ports in Shanghai and Ningbo as brothers who rely on each other. The two are both witnessing growing freight volume these years," said Zhang Huimin, Shanghai municipal government's deputy secretary general. "In addition, a most important function of Yangshan will be drawing freight from the northern parts of China, which now transfer at ports in South Korea and Japan. There will be no direct competition with Ningbo ports."
Last year, Shanghai handled 8.61 million 20-foot equivalent unit containers, about 23.1 percent of the country's total. Ningbo saw a total throughput of 1.86 million TEUs, accounting for about 4.9 percent.
The yangshan port will create a capacity for handling more than 3 million TEUs by 2005.
The 31.8-kilometer bridge, named the Eastern China Sea Bridge, is China's first cross-sea bridge under construction. Architects working on its construction have experienced and solved many unpredicted difficulties.
(eastday.com July 14, 2003)