WASHINGTON, June 30, 2017 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$200 million loan today to modernize logistics and boost the development along the Yangtze River Economic Belt.
The Yangtze River Economic Belt is one of China’s major strategic initiatives in the country’s shift to a domestic consumption-led growth model. Its goal is to boost economic integration between the eastern and the western regions by expanding or relocating industries from the traditional manufacturing hubs in the east coast where the Yangtze flows into the sea, to the inland regions along its middle and upper reaches.
“Building a modern logistics industry and multimodal freight transportation is a key success factor for the Yangtze River Economic Belt initiative, as finished products are shipped over a long distance to the coastal and western regions and raw materials are sourced from the central region,” said Hua Tan, World Bank’s Senior Transport Specialist and Project Team Leader.
Yichang, located on the upper middle reaches of the Yangtze River, is home to the Three Gorges Dam, and a major distribution center, transit node and trading post in the central western region. In recent years, Yichang has focused on developing the service sector and high-value-added industries.
The Three Gorges Modern Logistics Center Project will support construction of three container and four bulk cargo berths in Yichang’s Baiyang Port, three logistics service areas in the Baiyang Logistics Park, and transport connection infrastructure and traffic management facilities. The project will also support development of a logistics information center, and preparation of operations and business plans.
The project will be Yichang’s first greenfield integrated multimodal transport and logistics hub supported by a modern ICT system. It will serve as an important node in the east-west transport corridors connecting the Yangtze River waterway and the national expressway and railway networks to meet the growing logistics needs of the local economy.
The total investment of the project is US$446 million, of which the IBRD loan will finance US$200 million and the Yichang Municipal Government will invest US$246 million through municipal budget and commercial loans. The project is expected to create about 1,500 job opportunities for the local communities.
The Yangtze River, the world’s third longest river, runs through nine Chinese provinces and two municipalities, covering 2.05 million square kilometers. The Yangtze River Economic Belt accounts for more than 40 percent of the China's population and GDP.