II. Comprehensive Transport System
Through years of reform and development, China has formed a multi-nodal and full-coverage transport network; opened up five vertical and five horizontal transport trunk railway lines; put into operation a large number of passenger and freight transport stations (logistics parks); upgraded transport equipment and improved transport service capacity; achieved major breakthroughs in technology innovation and application; and improved the transport market system, management mechanisms and related laws and regulations.
- Infrastructure Network
A multi-level railway network has been formed. By the end of 2015, China’s total railway operation length reached 121,000 km, ranking the world’s second, including 19,000-km high-speed railway, ranking the world’s first. An express passenger transport network with high-speed railway as framework and supplemented by intercity railway has been built. The proportion of double-line railway in China was 53.5 percent, and the proportion of electric railway 61.8 percent. China has formed east-west and north-south railway passageways with great transport capacity, improved logistics infrastructure, and realized nonstop, speedy, and heavy-haul freight transport.
A full-coverage highway network has been set up. By the end of 2015, China’s total highway traffic length was 4.58 million km. Expressway length was 123,500 km, ranking first in the world. The national and provincial trunk highway network has been improved, connecting administrative regions at and above the county level nationwide. Rural highway length was 3.98 million km, connecting 99.9 percent of towns and townships and 99.8 percent of administrative villages. The technology structure of the highway network has been improved, with graded highway length accounting for 88.4 percent of total highway length.
A water transport network connecting trunk and branch lines has been established. By the end of 2015, China had 31,300 quay berths for production use, including 2,221 berths of 10,000-ton-class or above and 1,173 specialized berths for coal, crude oil, metal ores and containers, and improved large-scale, professional and automated deep-water ports. Inland waterway navigable length was 127,000 km, with graded waterways accounting for 52.2 percent, and the length of high-grade waterways reaching 13,600 km. China has improved the navigation conditions of the Yangtze and Xijiang rivers and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, and formed 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.
A civil airport system has taken shape. 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 airports in provincial capitals and major cities as junctures, and some other support trunk and branch airports. Air traffic control facilities have been improved, which secured 8.57 million takeoffs and landings in 2015. General aviation airports have been developing quickly. Airport rail and fast-track transit have been rapidly improved, and the connectivity between airports and other modes of transport has been enhanced.
Post offices for each township and postal services for each village have been realized. By the end of 2015, China’s postal routes totaled 25,000, with a total length of 6.38 million km; postal outlets totaled 54,000, and village mail stations totaled 210,000. Express delivery outlets numbered 183,000, with a total network length of 23.71 million km.
Oil and gas pipelines have formed a trunk network. By the end of 2015, China’s onshore oil and gas pipelines had a total length of 112,000 km, covering 31 provinces, municipalities directly under the central government and autonomous regions, forming a trunk-pipeline network for crude oil, refined oil and natural gas as well as an oil and gas transmission network which transports oil from the west to the east and from the north to the south, transmits gas from the west to the east and from the north to the south, and brings gas from offshore.
- Transport Service Capacity
China’s transport volume leads the world. In 2015, China’s passenger transport volume was 19.43 billion persons, and passenger turnover was 3.0 trillion passenger-km (pkm); freight transport volume was 41 billion tons, and freight turnover was 17.37 trillion ton-km (tkm). In terms of railway transport, passenger turnover and freight transport volume ranked first in the world, and freight turnover ranked second. In terms of highway transport, passenger and freight transport volume and passenger and freight turnover ranked first in the world. In terms of waterway transport, freight transport volume and freight turnover also ranked first in the world. In terms of civil aviation transport, total turnover, passenger turnover, and cargo and mail turnover all ranked second in the world. In terms of port transport, cargo throughput and container throughput ranked first in the world. In terms of postal services, the number of customers exceeded 70 billion. In terms of express delivery, business volume ranked first in the world; on November 11, Online Shopping Day, the number of parcels delivered in one day reached the year’s peak of 160 million pieces. In terms of pipeline transportation, freight transport volume was 710 million tons and freight turnover was 413.88 billion tkm.
Transport service quality has been improved. Multimodal transport, drop and pull transport and cold chain logistics have developed quickly; the use of standardized transport units such as containers and vans has been promoted; and urban and rural logistics have enhanced IT application and intensified services, thus increasing logistics efficiency. Transport safety has been greatly improved, and China’s railway passenger transport safety leads the world. In 2015, the number of death toll per 10,000 vehicle road accidents dropped by 72.4 percent over 2005; the number of accidents of cargo vessels of a million-ton-class throughput and above has decreased by five percent on average annually since 2005; the rolling ten-year accident rate per one million flight hours in civil aviation transport was 0.018 in 2015 (the world’s average is 0.24). Equitable basic public services in passenger transport and the strategy of “public transit priority” have been promoted. The length of exclusive bus lanes has reached 8,569 km, and the length of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines 3,081 km. In addition, new and specialized public transport services, such as customized shuttle and night buses, have increased, and new models of transport service including online taxi booking have been developing rapidly.
Transport service accessibility has been expanded. High-speed railway coverage of cities with a population of over one million each has reached 65 percent, and the number of passenger transport routes has reached 181,000. The number of urban bus and trolley bus routes in operation has exceeded 45,000, and the number of urban rail transit routes in operation has reached 105, with a total length of 3,195 km. International waterway transport routes and container shipment routes now connect over 1,000 ports in more than 100 countries and regions. Scheduled civil aviation flights operate on 3,326 routes, with a total length of 7.87 million km, reaching 204 cities in China’s mainland, the Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR and Taiwan, as well as 137 cities in 55 foreign countries and regions. Express delivery outlets now serve 70 percent of towns and townships nationwide.
Means of transport and technology have been improved. By the end of 2015, all railway trunk lines had realized diesel and electric locomotive traction; types and structures of passenger and freight transport vehicles had been upgraded and updated. Civil automobiles numbered 172.28 million; highway passenger and freight transport vehicles in operation totaled 14.73 million; the average tonnage of freight transport vehicles increased from 6.3 to 7.5 tons; the proportion of special-use freight vehicles (including trailers) rose from 5.1 percent to 27.2 percent; passenger transport vehicles in operation have become advanced and comfortable, while freight transport vehicles have become larger and have been specified for various uses. Water transport vessels numbered 166,000; ocean cargo fleet had a total capacity of 160 million tons; inland waterway freight transport vessels had an average tonnage of more than 800 tons; the rate of standard ship types operating in navigable waters of high-grade waterways reached 50 percent; transport vessels have been developed towards large-size, specialized-use and standard types. Civil aviation had 2,650 registered planes, while general aviation had 1,904. Postal services had 244,000 transport vehicles and 71 cargo planes for domestic express delivery.
An efficient safety regulation and maritime emergency aid system has been established. China has established and improved the inter-ministerial joint conference system for maritime search and rescue, and major marine oil spill emergency disposal. It has also improved its maritime search and rescue efforts and increased the number of volunteers. Overall, China has preliminarily built an extensive, prompt and efficient system of waterway transport safety regulation and maritime emergency support.
- Technology Innovation and Application
China leads the world in infrastructure construction. China’s technologies for high-speed, alpine, plateau and heavy-haul railways have reached the world’s advanced level, while high-speed railways have become a symbol of made-in-China and going-global products. Railway and highway construction technologies have overcome world-level geological challenges such as plateau permafrost, and expansive soil and desert. The construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Highway and Qinghai-Tibet Railway has been completed and they have been opened to traffic. A number of world-class large bridges and tunnels have been built with globally advanced construction technologies. China’s key construction technologies for offshore deep-water ports, improved technologies for large estuary waterways and long waterways, and construction technologies for large-scale airports are leading the world. The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, Yangshan Port Container Terminal, Yangtze Estuary Deepwater Channel Improvement Project, and other major construction projects have been carried out.
Equipment manufacturing has made rapid progress. High-performance railway equipment technologies with proprietary intellectual property rights, represented by high-speed railways and high-power locomotives, have reached the advanced world level, with some of them leading the world. New-energy road transport equipment has realized preliminary industrialization. Feeder liners, general aviation aircraft and helicopters independently developed by China have been put into use, and the C919 airliner has rolled off the assembly line, making China one of the few countries capable of developing large airliners independently. China’s manufacturing technologies for large, specialized equipment for terminal loading and unloading, special marine engineering machinery vessels and complete sets of container transport equipment are world-leaders, while its 300-m saturation diving technology has achieved a breakthrough. Sorting technologies in postal services, including optical character recognition (OCR), video complement and address check via bar code have reached the world’s top level.
Information and intelligent technologies have been extensively applied. Information and communications technologies, such as big data, cloud computing, Internet of Things and mobile Internet, have been widely applied in transport, and combined online and traditional business models are thriving. Railway passenger transport has developed an online booking system, and realized IT application in transport management. Expressway transport has formed a nationwide Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) network. Port Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) and Vessel Automatic Identification System (AIS) have been widely applied in water transport management, and an electronic nautical chart of the trunk waterways of the Yangtze River has been developed. China’s civil aviation business information system is globally advanced. Postal services have established a video joint monitoring system at national, provincial and municipal levels. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), 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.
- Reform and Rule of Law
Market system has been improved. Through over 30 years of marketization, transport construction, maintenance and traffic have become market-oriented. China has issued its Negative List for Market Access, encouraging non-government capital to invest in transport operation, and vigorously promoting Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Transport has separated government functions from enterprise operation completely. The government has also streamlined its administration and delegated authority, and innovated and improved government approval services. Transport has been boosting the market credit system and improving market regulation. As a result, a unified, open transport market of orderly competition has been formed.
Legal framework has taken shape. To meet the demands of reform and development, China has promulgated, revised and annulled transport laws and regulations. Currently, China has eight relevant laws, namely, the Railway Law, Highway Law, Law on Ports, Waterway Law, Maritime Law, Maritime Traffic Safety Law, Civil Aviation Law and Postal Law. In addition, there are 65 relevant administrative regulations, including the Regulations on the Administration of Railway Safety, Regulations on the Administration of Highway Safety, Regulations on Road Transport, Regulations on International Maritime Transport, Regulations on the Administration of Traffic Safety in Inland Waters, Regulations on Seamen, Regulations on the Administration of Civil Airports, Regulations on Civil Aviation Safety, and Rules for the Implementation of the Postal Law. There are also more than 300 relevant departmental rules.
Comprehensive transport management system has been preliminarily established. In 2008 and 2013 respectively, China launched two rounds of institutional reform to establish a large transport department, namely, the Ministry of Transport, which put the National Railways Administration, Civil Aviation Administration of China and State Postal Bureau under its management. All localities are promoting structural reform for comprehensive transport management, and quickening their pace in building a comprehensive transport system.