In 2003, the total investment in highway construction in China was over 350 billion yuan for 219 key expressway projects, mostly located along the main national five arterial highways from the north to the south, and seven from the east to the west, as well as the highways in the western regions and in rural areas. By the end of 2003, the length of highways open to traffic throughout the country reached 1.81 million km, including 30,000 km of expressways up to the advanced modern transportation standard, ranking second in the world. The nation's highway density has now reached 18.9 km/100 sq km. By the end of 2003, the major sections of the 12 main national arterial highways from the north to the south, and seven from the east to the west, totaling 35,000 km long, were completed. When all the national arterial highways of China are completed in 2008, Beijing and Shanghai will be linked with all the capitals of the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities by major highways with expressways as the mainstay; and over 200 cities will be connected through highways.
From 1990 to 2001, an annual average of some 1,092 km of new railways, 837 km of multiple-tracked railways and 962 km of electrified railways were open to traffic. By the end of 2003, operating railways in China had reached 73,100 km, including 23,700 km of multiple-tracked railways and 18,500 km of electrified railways. At present, with 6 percent of the total operating railways in the world, Chinese railways carry some 25 percent of the world's total railway workload, making China one of the countries with the largest rail transport volume. China also takes the lead in the growth rate of transport volume and in the efficient use of transport equipment. Since 1988, China has raised its train speed significantly four times, involving a total of 13,000 km of railways. As compared with that of 1997, the average operation speed of passenger trains has increased by 25 percent. The highest speed of special express trains increased from 120 km to 160 km per hour, and the passenger trains from Guangzhou to Shenzhen can operate at up to 200 km per hour.
China's coastal harbors enable the transportation of coal, containers, iron ore and grain and roll-on-roll-off ships, as well as provide deep-water access to the sea. In the construction of her harbors, China especially has strengthened the container transport system. Work in this regard has been concentrated on the construction of a group of deep-water container wharves at Dalian, Tianjin, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen and Shenzhen, laying the basis for the shaping of China's container hubs. The construction of the coal transport system has been further strengthened. A number of coal transport wharves have been constructed. In addition, wharves for importing crude oil and iron ore have been reconstructed or expanded. By the end of 2003, the main coastal harbors had close to 2,400 berths, including some 540 10,000-ton-class berths, with a handling capacity of 48 million containers, ranking No. one in the world. The annual volume of freight traffic of some large harbors has exceeded 100 million tons; and Shanghai, Shenzhen, Qingdao, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Ningbo and Dalian harbors have been included among the 50 top container harbors in the world.
At the end of 2003, China had 126 airports for regular flights. In 2003, the turnover of air freight reached 5.8 billion ton-km, the passenger turnover was 126.3 billion person-km, and the volume of freight 2.19 million tons. China had a total of 1,155 scheduled flight routes, of which 961 were domestic air routes, reaching all large and medium-sized cities throughout the country; and 194 were international air routes, reaching more than 70 cities in five continents.