NANJING, Jan. 23 (Xinhuanet) -- The shipping capacity
on the mainstream of the Yangtze River, China's longest waterway, reached 795
million tons last year, rating one of the most tapped rivers among the world's
inland rivers, official statistics show.
The handling capacity of ports along the river's
mainstream reached 650 million tons in 2005. The total throughput included 78
million tons of cargo in foreign trade and 2.6 million TEUs of containers, said
Jin Yihua, director of the Yangtze River Navigation Affairs Administration.
The throughput on the mainstream was only 400 million
tons in 2000.
The Chinese government attaches great importance to
improving the navigation conditions of the Yangtze, which is now playing an
increasingly crucial role in economic growth in the river valley and becomes an
vital link of international navigation.
In 2003, the Chinese government has decided to invest
16 billion yuan (about 2 billion U.S. dollars) to dredge the navigation course
of the Yangtze before 2020.
An expansion project for the 10.5-m-deep navigation
course has been completed, which provide passage access to shipping vessels with
50,000 dead-weight-tonnage through the Nanjing-Shanghai section of the Yangtze
Buoys have been installed on the Nanjing-Liuhekou
section of the river, so as to ensure the passing ships' navigation safety.
Expanding navigation on the river has been prospering
areas along the mighty river. Currently, the Yangtze is flanked with
metallurgical, power, chemical, auto, building materials and machinery
industrial belts, along with more than 20 state-level economic and
technological, and high-tech development zones.
The shipping capacity of the river's mainstream is
expected to amount to 860 million tons this year, with the handling capacity of
its ports topping 750 million, including 90 million tons of cargo in foreign
trade and 3.1 million TEUs of containers, according to its navigation