China Public Transport
General Introduction to Chinese public transport
Transportation in the People's Republic of China has experienced major growth and expansion since 1949 and especially since the early 1980s. Airports, roads, and railway construction will provide a massive employment boost in China over the next decade. Rail, which is the primary mode of transportation, has doubled in length since the mid-twentieth century, and an extensive network provides service to the entire nation. The larger cities have metro systems in operation, under construction, or in the planning stage. The highway and road system also has gone through rapid expansion, resulting in a rapid increase of motor vehicle use throughout China. Although China's transportation system comprises a vast network of transport nodes across its huge territory, the nodes tend to concentrate in the more economically developed coastal areas and inland cities along major rivers.
The physical state and comprehensiveness of China's transportation infrastructure tend to vary widely by geography. While remote, rural areas still largely depend on non-mechanized means of transportation, a modern maglev train system was built in China to connect the city center of Shanghai with its international airport.
Much of contemporary China's transportation systems have been built since the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949. Prior to 1950, there were only 21,800 km of railway lines. In 2007, the railway network has since been expanded to 78,000 km. Rail travel remained the most popular form of transport, although air travel has also experienced significant growth since the late 1990s. The government-led effort — that began in the 1990s — to connect the country by expressways via the "National Trunk Highway System" has expanded the network to more than 53,000 km by the end of 2007, making China's the second longest expressway network in the world (after the United States).
Rail is the major mode of transportation in China. Carrying some 24% of the world’s railway transportation volume, China’s railway system is critical to its economy. China has the world's third largest rail network, the total track length being at 76,000 km in 2006. The national rail system is modernizing and expanding rapidly and is efficient within the limits of the available track. Some 71,898 km of track were operational in 2002. This total included 71,898 km of standard gauge (1,435 mm) track (18,115 km of which were electrified) and 3,600 km of 1,000 mm and 750 mm gauge local industrial lines. There were an additional 23,945 km of dual-gauge track not included in the total. As of 2002, some 23,058 km of the railroad routes were double tracked, representing 38.7% of the total. In 2004 China’s railroad inventory included 15,456 locomotives owned by the national railroad system. The inventory in recent times included some 100 steam locomotives, but the last such locomotive, built in 1999, is now in service as a tourist attraction while the others have been retired from commercial service.
The remaining locomotives are either diesel or electric powered. Another 352 locomotives are owned by local railroads and 604 operated by joint-venture railroads. National railroad freight cars numbered 520,101 and passenger coaches 39,766. In 2003 China’s railroads carried 2.2 trillion tons of freight and 478.9 trillion passenger/kilometers. Only India had more passenger/kilometers and the United States more net ton/kilometers than China. Because of its limited capital, overburdened infrastructure, and need to continuously modernize, the national rail system, which is controlled by the Ministry of Railways through a network of regional divisions, operates on an austere budget. Foreign capital investment in the freight sector was allowed beginning in 2003, and international public stock offerings opened in 2006. In another move to better capitalize and reform the rail system, the Ministry of Railways established three public shareholder-owned companies in 2003: China Railways Container Transport Company, China Railway Special Cargo Service Company, and China Railways Parcel Express Company.
China Motor Vehicles
During the war with Japan, in the 1930s, China built many roads, the most famous of which is the Burma Road that leads southwest from Kunming to the city of Lashio. Since it came into power, the Communist government initiated a large effort into building highways that extend across China and beyond its borders. Today, China is linked by a still evolving network of roads (China National Highways) and expressways (Expressways of China). In the past few years, China has been rapidly developing its highway system. China National Highways stretch to all four corners of mainland China.
Expressways reach the same destinations as China National Highways, except for the rugged terrain of Tibet. An expressway link is already at the planning stage. In 2005 China had a total road network of more than 3.3 million km, although approximately 1.47 million km of this network are classified as "village roads". Paved roads totaled 770,265 km in 2004; the remainder were gravel, improved earth standard, or merely earth tracks. Highways (totaling 130,000 km) were critical to China’s economic growth as it worked to mitigate a poor distribution network and authorities sought to spur economic activity directly. All major cities are expected to be linked with a 55,000 km interprovince expressway system by 2020. The highway and road systems carried nearly 11.6 billion tons of freight and 769.6 trillion passenger/kilometers in 2003.
The importance of highways and motor vehicles, which carry 13.5% of cargo and 49.1% of passengers, was growing rapidly in the mid-2000s. Road usage has increased significantly, as automobiles, including privately-owned vehicles, rapidly replace bicycles as the popular vehicle of choice in China. Car ownership is still low in comparison to the other members of the BRIC group of countries, being exceeded by Russia and Brazil. Indeed the rate of car ownership in China is only expected to meet the 1960's level of car ownership of some developed countries in 2015. Shuttle buses like this link smaller towns with regional centers In 2002, excluding military and probably internal security vehicles, there were 12 million passenger cars and buses in operation and 8.1 million other vehicles. In 2003 China reported that 23.8 million vehicles were used for business purposes, including 14.8 million passenger vehicles and 8.5 million trucks.
The latest statistics from the Beijing Municipal Statistics Bureau show that Beijing had nearly 1.3 million privately-owned cars at the end of 2004 or 11 for each 100 Beijing residents. Beijing currently has the highest annual rate of private car growth in China. Some 270,000 km of rural highways will be built and upgraded in 2008. By comparison, 423,000 kmof countryside highways were built or upgraded in 2007, a record high. According to China's Transportation Ministry, as of the end of 2007, 98.54 percent of villages and towns had already been connected by highways.
The 2008 construction plan comprises five north-south highway trunk roads and seven east-west trunk roads and eight inter-provincial roads. Meanwhile, the central and local governments have continued to allocate funds to support the countryside highway build-up and step up construction quality supervision.
As a result of the rapidly expanding civil aviation industry, by 2007 China had around 500 airports of all types and sizes in operation, about 400 of which had paved runways and about 100 of which had runways of 3,047 m or shorter. There also were 35 heliports in 2007, an increasingly used type of facility. With the additional airports came a proliferation of airlines.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), also called the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China, was established as a government agency in 1949 to operate China’s commercial air fleet. In 1988 CAAC’s operational fleet was transferred to new, semiautonomous airlines and has served since as a regulatory agency.
In 2002 the government merged the nine largest airlines into three regional groups based in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, respectively: Air China, China Eastern Airlines, and China Southern Airlines, which operate most of China’s external flights. By 2005 these three had been joined by six other major airlines: Hainan Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Xiamen Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, and Sichuan Airlines. Together, these nine airlines had a combined fleet of some 860 aircraft, mostly Boeing from the United States and Airbus from France.
To meet growing demands for passenger and cargo capacity, in 2005 these airlines significantly expanded their fleets with orders placed for additional Boeing and Airbus aircraft expected to be delivered by 2010. In June 2006, it was announced that an Airbus A320 assembly plant would be built in the Binhai New Area of Tianjin, with the first aircraft to be delivered in 2008. Air China owns 17.5% of Cathay Pacific (second largest shareholder) and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), an administrative agency of the State Council, owns majority and controlling stakes in China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, and Air China. The total number of planes of all mainland Chinese carriers combined will be near 1,580 by 2010, up from 863 in 2006. By 2025, the figure is estimated to be 4,000. The twenty seven airlines in the Chinese mainland handled 138 million passengers, and 22.17 million tons of cargo in 2005.
China Port and Shipping
China has more than 2,000 ports, 130 of which are open to foreign ships. The major ports, including river ports accessible by ocean-going ships, are Beihai, Dalian, Dandong, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Haikou, Hankou, Huangpu, Jiujiang, Lianyungang, Nanjing, Nantong, Ningbo, Qingdao, Qinhuangdao, Rizhao, Sanya, Shanghai, Shantou, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Weihai, Wenzhou, Xiamen, Xingang, Yangzhou, Yantai, and Zhanjiang.
China has sixteen "major" shipping ports with a capacity of over 50 million tons per year. Combined China’s total shipping capacity is in excess of 2,890 million tons. By 2010, 35% of the world’s shipping is expected to originate from China. The seven largest port terminals are Dalian, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo, Qingdao, Qinhuangdao, Shanghai. Additionally, Hong Kong is a major international port serving as an important trade center for China. In 2005 Shanghai Port Management Department reported that its Shanghai port became the world’s largest cargo port, processing cargo topping 443 million tons and surpassing Singapore’s port. The Port of Shanghai is presently undergoing significant upgrades. Shanghai Model Port Alliance is responsible for many of the upgrades that are expected to make Shanghai’s port more automated, minimizing the loss of goods and time while helping Customs collect more accurate tariffs. If the Shanghai project is successful, there is interest in replicating the process in other Chinese ports.
As of 2004, China’s merchant fleet had 3,497 ships. Of these, 1,700 ships of 1,000 gross register tons (GRT) or more totaled 20.4 million tons. Ships by type: barge carrier 2, bulk carrier 325, cargo ship 840, chemical tanker 21, combination bulk carrier 11, combination ore/oil 1, container ship 125, liquified gas 20, multi-functional large load carrier 5, passenger ship 8, passenger/cargo ship 46, petroleum tanker 251, refrigerated cargo ship 24, roll-on/roll-off 21, short-sea passenger 43, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 1 (1999 est.) In 2003 China’s major coastal ports handled 2.1 billion tons of freight.
As of 2007, China’s merchant fleet had 1,775 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 22,219,786 GRT/33,819,636 metric tons deadweight (DWT) by type: barge carrier 3, bulk carrier 415, cargo ship 689, carrier 3, chemical tanker 62, combination ore/oil 2, container ship 157, liquefied gas 35, passenger 8, passenger/cargo ship 84, petroleum tanker 250, refrigerated cargo ship 33, roll-on/roll-off 9, specialized tanker 8, vehicle carrier 17. * foreign-owned: 12 (Ecuador 1, Greece 1, Hong Kong 6, Japan 2, South Korea 1, Norway 1) (2007) * registered in other countries: 1,366 (Bahamas 9, Bangladesh 1, Belize 107, Bermuda 10, Bolivia 1, Cambodia 166, Cyprus 10, France 5, Georgia 4, Germany 2, Honduras 3, Hong Kong 309, India 1, Indonesia 2, Liberia 32, Malaysia 1, Malta 13, Marshall Islands 3, Mongolia 3, Norway 47, Panama 473, Philippines 2, Sierra Leone 8, Singapore 19, St Vincent and The Grenadines 106, Thailand 1, Turkey 1, Tuvalu 25, unknown 33) (2007)