WASHINGTON, March 28, 2014 - Today the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved three loans totaling $600 million to the People’s Republic of China to provide more efficient and better public transport services in two major cities in Heilongjiang Province, expand railway capacity along a key transport corridor in the country’s Northeast, and increase gas utilization to reduce greenhouse gases emission in Shanxi Province.
Harbin and Mudanjiang in Heilongjiang Province are among China’s coldest cities in the winter. Public transport services in both cities are characterized by inadequate capacity and slow speed. Passengers often wait a long time for a bus in cold temperature. The Heilongjiang Cold Weather Smart Public Transport System Project, financed in part with an IBRD loan of $200 million, will support investments to improve the level of public transport services in the targeted corridors and reduce the impact of extreme weather conditions on public transport usage and operations. The project will improve pavement conditions, install bus stops, and provide heated indoor bus waiting facilities. It will also procure buses that use clean fuel and are accessible for disabled people, construct passenger hubs, terminal, bus depots, and facilities for maintenance, safety education and training of bus drivers. The project will deploy Intelligent Transport Solutions and other information technology to improve the efficiency and management of bus operations.
“The improvement envisaged in the project will improve public transport users’ satisfaction and make buses a more attractive alternative to driving a private car,” said Binyam Reja, Transport Sector Coordinator for China and Task Team Leader for the project.
People with disabilities will also benefit from buses, bus stops, and terminals designed to be accessible for people with visual and physical impairments.
The HaJia Railway Project, financed in part with an IBRD loan of $300 million, will support the construction of a 343 km-long double-track, electrified, mixed-use (passenger and freight) railway line between the cities of Harbin and Jiamusi (HaJia line) in the Heilongjiang Province in northeast China. The project will include construction of twelve new stations and upgrading of the existing Jiamusi station.
“The 15 million people living along this new line will be able to travel by rail in 2 hours instead of 7 hours, with six times more express trains per day than today. This will be safer than travelling by road, particularly during the many days of fog, snow and ice prevalent in this part of China. Businesses will be able to work closer together and discover new opportunities”, said Gerald Ollivier, Task Team Leader for this project.
Upon completion in 2019, the new line will indeed reduce rail distance for passengers as well as freight between Harbin and Jiamusi by about 164 km, from the existing 507 km to 343 km, and passenger trains will be able to operate at 200 kilometers per hour. This line will offer a rapid link between cities in northeast Heilongjiang and Harbin, and from the railway hub in Harbin to the core of the Chinese high speed railway network. It will also provide a substantial increase in capacity for passenger trains between these cities. This is the 17th railway project with China Railways or its predecessor, the Ministry of Railways, supported by the World Bank in China.
The Shanxi Gas Utilization Project, financed with an IBRD loan of $100 million, will support investments in both distributed gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plants and the expansion of the gas distribution network in selected counties in Shanxi Province. The Baode 3x42MWe and Xiyang 3x42MWe gas-fired CHP plants are green-field power plants and will be built for power generation and heating supply to the adjacent cities. Pipelines and pressure regulating stations will be installed in Xiangyuan, Changzhi, Tunliu, and Qingxu counties to expand the gas distribution network to residential, commercial, and industrial consumers. Gas consumers supplied by the project will improve their living standards through use of clean energy. In addition, the global community will benefit from avoided greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global climate change mitigation.
"Gas is an emerging clean energy in China to achieve the twin goals of local environment improvement and global climate change mitigation. We expect the World Bank’s support to help improve the quality of the sector development through introduction of international good practices," said Ximing Peng, Task Team Leader for the project.
“The three projects approved today will substantially contribute to increasing prosperity and improving development in China’s northeast and western lagging areas through efficiency improvement in transportation and expansion of clean energy,” said Mara Warwick, World Bank Operations Manager for China.