China Releases White Paper on Transportation

December 30, 2016

The State Council Information Office published a White Paper on the "Development of China's Transport" network Thursday. [url:""l] It outlines the results of the last decades' development of transportation in China and the plans for the next five to ten years. The paper deals with the extensive railroad network being developed, as well as the extensive air and seaport development, serving as important nodes in a transportation grid which is being highly computerized and making maximum use of satellite and other high-tech communications systems for its operation.

By the end of 2015, China's total railway operations reached 121,000 km, ranking them the world's second longest, including 19,000 km of high-speed railway, the world's longest. China now has five east-west and five north-south railway trunk lines serving as the matrix of the total rail network. By 2025, China will have 175,000 km of rail, of which 38,000 km will be high-speed, according to Yuan Chuantong from the Ministry of Transportation. And by 2030, China will have a rail network of 200,000 km.

By the end of 2015, China's total highway traffic length was 4.58 million km, with 123,500 km of expressway, ranking it first in the world. There are 3.98 million km of rural highways, connecting 99.9% of towns and townships and 99.8% of administrative villages. Graded highways comprise 88.4% of total highway length.

A water transport network connecting trunk and branch lines has also been established. By the end of 2015, China had 3,300 quay berths for production use, including 2,221 berths for 10,000-ton-class ships or above. Inland waterway navigable length was 127,000 km, with graded waterways comprising 52.2% of the length. This forms an inland waterway system composed of two horizontal trunk waterways, one vertical trunk waterway, two high-grade waterway networks, and 18 high-grade mainstream and tributary waterways.

By the end of 2015 China had 210 civil transport airports, forming a pattern with international hub airports in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou as centers, with regional hub airport in provincial capitals and major cities, and some other support trunk and branch airports. Radio Frequency Identification, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), and other modern navigation technologies have been applied to civil aviation and logistics. The BeiDou Navigation Satellite System has become the third GNSS applied in international navigation.

Safety has not been sacrificed with this rapid development, but rather increased considerably. In 2015, the number of deaths per 10,000 vehicle road accidents dropped by 72.4% from the number in 2005; the number of accidents of cargo vessels of a million-ton-class throughput and above has decreased by 5%, on average, annually since 2005; and the rolling 10-year accident rate per 1 million flight hours in civil aviation transport was 0.018 in 2015 (the world average is 0.24). China has also initiated an enormous development of inner-city and regional transportation in the major cities and in the new regional conglomerates like the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and the Yangtze River Economic Belt and the Bohai Sea Rim.

Assisting the Belt and Road Initiative, China has established railway connections with 5 of its 14 neighboring countries, with 11 railway crossing points. Multiple container trains operate on railways to Central Europe and Central Asia; highway crossing points in border areas, open year round, are connected to roads at Grade II level and above; and a group of logistics parks and cargo operation centers capable of handling international logistics has been put into use. China actively promotes international and regional cooperation in shipping, and is jointly pushing forward the navigation of the Lancang-Mekong River with Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand.

China's astounding transportation development has also made it a leader in many advanced technologies, including high-speed rail, which now serve as the main items in its "Going Global" strategy, bringing development to the rest of the world. China's technologies for high-speed, alpine, plateau, and heavy-haul railways have reached the world's most advanced level. China's key construction technologies for offshore deepwater ports, improved technologies for large estuary waterways and long waterways, and construction technologies for large-scale airports, are leading the world. A number of world-class large bridges and tunnels have been built by China with globally advanced construction technologies. The latest example of this is the world's largest bridge, the Beipanjiang Bridge, now under construction, which will soar 1,854 feet over a gorge separating Guizhou province from Yunnan province, with a span of 1,354 meters, more than eight-tenths of a mile.