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Shanghai leads the way in shipping-railway transport
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2007-02-06 10:34
Shanghai Port has taken its first step toward penetrating deeper inland through an integrated marine-railway transport.

A train with 56 container carriages left the city's Luchaogang station for Hefei, capital of East China's Anhui Province, on Friday, kicking off direct rail container service the two places. Luchaogang is close to the Shanghai's Yangshan deepwater port.

The country plans to build 18 rail container terminals, and the Luchaogang is the first to start operation.

The container rail transport is a joint venture of Shanghai Railway Container Terminal Development Corporation and China Shipping Container Lines Co.

The station, designed specially to transfer shipment to and from Yangshan Port, began operation at the end of last year, and is linked to the East China Sea port by a 32.5-kilometer bridge.

Trucks carry the shipments from Yangshan to Luchaogang, where they are loaded on to trains. Soon, the system will begin handling exports, too.

The two firms signed a cooperation agreement before the first train left Shanghai. The once-a-week service will be increased to three days a week in April before becoming a daily affair in the future.

Luchaogang station vice-manager Jin Yamei says more regular container rail service between Shanghai and Nanchang, Nanjing, Chengdu, Changsha, Zhengzhou and Xi'an, too, would be launched.

"The marine-railway transport mode can be more economical and environment friendly than the road transport. Its advantages become obvious over long distances," Meng Qingyi, of Luchaogang station, said.

One train is capable of carrying 100 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units), equivalent to the combined capacity of 20 container trucks. And a train traveling from Shanghai to Hefei will use far less energy than 20 trucks and save a considerable amount in road tolls.

Also, such a train service can help handle and transfer more containers at Yangshan, especially when more vessels are moved there after it completed its second phase last December, Meng said.

At present, rail transport accounts for only a small percentage of the city's container transportation network. Trains carried only four out of the 1,000 TEUs leaving Shanghai.

Industry insiders say most container trucks carry most of the freight because highways to most of the Yangtze River Delta region can be accessed easily from Shanghai. The delta region is an important hinterland of Shanghai because of its fast-growing importance in global trade.

Therefore, the marine-railway container transport has the potential to grow in the next few years.

Source:China Daily 
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