The two major Cross-straits direct sea routes between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan opened for traffic on the first day of the Lunar New Year for the first time in seven years, with 1,233 passengers making the trip on Thursday.
The opening means that the Xiamen-Jinmen and Mawei-Matsu routes will be open throughout the year, according to the frontier inspection station of Xiamen city in the eastern Fujian Province.
The two lines suspended shipping services on the first day of the Lunar New Year in previous years for maintenance. The authorities decided to open the services in December to help Taiwan business people working or living on the Chinese mainland.
The Xiamen-Jinmen route transported 1,024 inbound and 142 outbound passengers on Thursday. The Mawei-Matsu sea route transported 66 inbound passengers and one outbound traveler, according to the frontier station.
"My wife and son left for Taipei before the Lunar New Year. I had some business to deal with, so I postponed my trip to today. The opening really offers me much convenience," said a Taiwan businessman surnamed Zhuang.
The Xiamen-Jinmen route has transported more than 2.44 million people since it started operation on January 2, 2001. The Mawei-Matsu route, which also opened in 2001, has been used by 170,000 passengers.
(Xinhua News Agency February 8, 2008)