WASHINGTON, February 28, 2013 - Today the World Bank Board of Directors approved a loan of US$50 million to the People’s Republic of China to improve the capacity of the main navigation channel and enhance the operational management capacity of the Meizhou Bay Harbor.
Fast growth of overseas trade has led to substantial increase in the total tonnage handled by China’s seaports in the last two decades. China now has nine of the twenty busiest seaports in the world. Located in southeast Fujian Province, Meizhou Bay is already a substantial bulk port handling nearly 40 million tons of freight (2010) including crude oil, building materials, coal and oil products as well as iron ore, grain, and timber at 46 berths spread over four port areas. The forecast expects traffic in Meizhou Bay to increase to about 177 million tons by 2020, and 250 million tons by 2030.
To meet this increase in traffic, the new Fujian Meizhou Bay Navigation Improvement Project will upgrade the main navigation channel in Meizhou Bay to a 300,000 DWT standard that will allow for unidirectional tide-independent navigation of Q-Max LNG ships, as well as unidirectional tide-dependent navigation of bulk cargo ships up to 400,000 DWT. About 21.5 kilometers of the existing main channel, mostly inside the Bay, will be widened and deepened through dredging and rock blasting.
The project will also include technical studies and training programs designed to build the management capacity of Meizhou Bay Harbor Administration Bureau to improve the operational efficiency and competitiveness of Meizhou Bay Ports.
“The project will improve the capacity of the existing main navigation channel of Meizhou Bay, and result in increased regional economic activity with linkages to employment growth and reduced poverty via convenient, time-saving and less costly transport,” said Binyam Reja, World Bank Transport Sector Coordinator for China.
The project will contribute to the achievement of China’s Regional Development Plan for the Strait West Economic Zone and boost the economic and social development of inland areas in Fujian, Jiangxi and Hunan provinces. It will also contribute to the country’s objective of creating a less energy-intensive transport system by reducing the average length of haul between inland traffic generating activities and seaports.
The total estimated cost of the Project is US$138.16 million, to be financed by the World Bank loan and funding from the central and local governments as well as Meizhou Bay Harbor Administration Bureau.