Financial support for key transport projects will be increased in the next five years as part of China's efforts to construct a modern logistics system and foster high-quality development, officials and experts said on Tuesday.
Meng Wei, a spokeswoman for the National Development and Reform Commission, said the country will push forward a number of key projects such as the Sichuan-Tibet railway and the new western land-sea corridor during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period.
" (Those major projects) construction will play a key role in shoring up weak links in infrastructure, fostering a strong domestic market and promoting economic and social development," Meng told a news conference in Beijing. "The NDRC will work with relevant parties to strengthen overall planning and coordination to ensure the implementation of major projects during the period."
The NDRC said it will accelerate the preparation of the next five-year plan, include eligible railway projects into the country's modern comprehensive transportation system and special plans for railway development as well as increase financial support for key projects.
Specifically, the NDRC plans to speed up the implementation of the renovation and expansion project for hub airports in Xi'an, Lanzhou, Xining, Shenzhen, Fuzhou, Guiyang, Haikou, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Changsha. It will also push forward the pre-renovation and expansion projects of the airports in Xiamen, Dalian and Kunming, and promote the construction of a number of secondary airports.
More efforts will also be made to make full use of investment from the central government budget and special local government bonds, apart from encouraging private sector participation in key projects.
Experts said the move to strengthen key infrastructure projects is in line with the central government's decision to enhance the country's strength in transportation and speed up the infrastructure construction for the 14th Five-Year Plan.
Wei Wei, an analyst with Ping An Securities, cited the communique of the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and said the construction of a modern logistics system will help foster a strong domestic market, reduce costs for companies and promote consumption.
Wang Yong, a visiting professor at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, said China has entered a key stage of upgrading the modern logistics system.
"China needs a high-quality modern system to follow the new 'dual-circulation' development pattern," Wang said. "More efforts should be made to expand the effective supply in the logistics market and improve the service capabilities of the transportation hubs."
To keep up with the rising demand for freight trains amid the COVID-19 outbreak which has hampered international air and sea transport, China is ramping up efforts to further improve China-Europe rail freight services, said Meng from the NDRC.
She said the NRDC will work with other departments and local governments to step up the construction of key ports, resolve transportation bottlenecks and speed up the construction of the demonstration projects of the China-Europe rail freight assembly center.
More efforts will also be made to expand the service capability of Manzhouli, Ereenhot and Alataw Pass stations, promote the upgrading and transformation of west, middle and east routes of China-Europe rail lines, and actively open up new routes overseas, said Meng.