China’s Ministry of Transport on 28 June announced phase II of the Yangtze River estuary deepwater channel extension project.
With total investment of CNY7.3 billion (USD1.18 billion), the project, as part of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, is scheduled for completion in 2018.
The project will extend the channel for another 280 km from Nanjing to Taicang. Once completed, it will allow 50,000 dwt and partially-unloaded 100,000 dwt ocean vessels to get to Nanjing port directly, saving logistics cost of about CNY6 billion every year, according to the Chinese Academy of Engineering’s (CAE’s) economic benefit evaluation report on the project.
The channel will be opened for trial navigation after one year of construction and its depth will be maintained at 12.5 m from April- November and at 11.5 m from December- March.
Upon completion, it will save 216,000 tonnes of bunker and cut 650,000 tonnes of CO2 emission every year, stated CAE, while coal and iron ore shipping cost will be reduced by 18.7% and 11.6%, respectively.
Meanwhile, cargo throughput of ports along the river is expected to increase, bringing another CNY23.8 billion in GDP growth and 164,000 jobs.
Nanjing port has stated that it is building an anchorage to accommodate ocean vessels.