WASHINGTON, DC April 12, 2011 – Today the World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved a new loan of $100 million to the People’s Republic of China to support improvement of inland waterway transport infrastructure to meet growing transport demands.
China has 123,000 km of navigable waterways, of which 61,000 km are officially classified for commercial navigation purposes. With China’s fast economic growth and rapidly increasing transport demands, inland waterway transport has been growing at an average of 8.8 percent in recent years. In 2007, China adopted the National Inland Waterways and Ports Plan to 2020 that aims to develop a high-class waterway network of around 19,100 km from the current 15,000 km. Anhui Province in central China has a good natural river network. The Shaying River, the largest tributary of the Huai River, flows through Anhui Province and provides a major waterway link to the booming Yangtze Delta area. However, despite rapidly increasing water traffic in the last few decades, future traffic growth is severely constrained by the low capacity of navigation infrastructure along the Shaying River.
The Anhui Shaying River Channel Improvement Project will assist the province’s efforts to raise the navigation standards and improve the waterway transport capacity by eliminating infrastructure constraints. The project will re-open and upgrade the 205.6 km-long Shaying River channel between Changshenggou on the Henan-Anhui border and Mohekou at the confluence of the Shaying River with the Huai River. “The improvement works will raise the standard of the channel and associated infrastructure to national standard Class IV that will permit year-round navigation of 500 dwt vessels and even larger vessels outside the dry season,” said Zhang Wenlai, World Bank Senior Transport Specialist and task team leader for the project.
Specifically, the project will finance river channelization and dredging works, river bank strengthening and protection works, provision of navigation aids and service facilities, and reconstruction of existing cross-river bridges that have insufficient clearance and relocation of other existing cross-river facilities that impede navigation. Support will also be provided to technical studies on waterway transport management and emergency service systems, and comprehensive ship lock management, and training programs designed to build the institutional capacity to enable sustainable development of the inland waterway transport sector in Anhui Province.
The total project investment is about $292 million, financed by a World Bank loan of $100 million and government counterpart funding of $192 million.
Over the past fifteen years, the World Bank has provided financial and technical support to China’s inland waterway development through lending to six projects in seven provinces. In 2009, the Bank also completed a major sector review of inland waterway transport in China with the objective of identifying impediments to its sustainable development and providing advice.