Development of China’s Transport
The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China
I. Course of Development
II. Comprehensive Transport System
III. Playing a Basic, Pioneering and Serving Role
IV. Opening up and International Cooperation
V. Development Goals for the Next Five Years
Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, and especially since the introduction of the reform and opening-up policy in 1978, China’s transport has undergone historic changes, making significant contributions to the country’s social and economic development, and the people’s safe and convenient travel.
Since the start of the 21st century, the Chinese government has furthered the reform in transport, built a modernized comprehensive transport system, improved the management system, and modernized management capacity in transport, bringing China’s transport to a new stage that incorporates multiple modes of transport and promotes their coordinated development.
China intends to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020, which is the first of its Two Centenary Goals. For this end, transport should quicken its pace of development, and fully play its basic, pioneering and serving role as a vanguard and solid guarantee for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
I. Course of Development
When the PRC was founded in 1949, transport was underdeveloped. Total railway length was only 21,800 km, half of which was paralyzed. Highway traffic length was only 80,800 km, and civil automobiles numbered only 51,000. Inland waterways were undeveloped, and only 12 civil air routes were operative. Postal outlets were limited. The major means of transport were animal-drawn vehicles and primitive boats.
Following the founding of the PRC, the Chinese government decided to create the basic conditions to restore transport. During the economic recovery period (1949-1952) damaged transport facilities were repaired, and water, land and air transport were resumed. In 1953 China began to develop transport in a planned way. During the First (1953-1957) and Second (1958-1962) Five-Year Plan periods and the economic adjustment period (1961-1965) China tilted state investment in support of transport. It renovated and built a number of railways, highways, ports and piers, and civil airports; expanded the transport infrastructure coverage in the western and remote regions; dredged major navigation channels; opened new international and domestic sea and air routes; expanded the postal network; and increased the amount of transport equipment.
During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), transport was seriously disturbed, but facilities, equipment and routes kept increasing; in view of the severe delays in unloading and transshipment, and overstocking at major coastal ports, port infrastructure construction was accelerated; and pipeline transport developed.
The reform and opening-up policy adopted in 1978 ushered in a new stage of social and economic development, bringing about the rapid development of transport. The Chinese government prioritized transport development, increased pertinent policy support, made pioneering attempts to open wider the transport market and establish social financing mechanisms, and reversed the adverse situation that transport was unable to match social and economic development.
China implemented the contract responsibility system in railway operation; issued three policies for supporting highway development, namely, raising highway maintenance fee levied on highway users, collecting vehicle purchase tax, and building highways with loans and repaying the loans with tolls. Highway construction and water transport engineering projects started to adopt public bidding. Ports were the first to be opened up to the outside world, and sea transport was the first sector to go global. Civil aviation began to operate as an enterprise, and an air transport market took shape. The postal services management system was reformed, Express Mail Service (EMS) was set up, and postal savings services were resumed. Investment in transport development was increased and non-government capital was attracted to go into transport infrastructure construction. In 1988, the Shanghai-Jiading Expressway was opened to traffic, the first expressway on China’s mainland.
In 1992, China set the reform goal of establishing a socialist market economic system. Reform and opening-up efforts were furthered in transport while the development of various modes of transport achieved breakthrough progress. Since 1997, it has raised its average railway speed six times as a result of large-scale construction. A plan was made to build a transport framework where highways, waterways and ports play the major role, and put in place an advanced transport support system. A goal was set to accelerate related construction. China began to collect civil airport construction fees, and set up a civil airport infrastructure construction fund, a railway construction fund and an inland water transport construction fund in succession. To address the Financial Crisis starting in Southeast Asia, China implemented proactive fiscal policies to speed up investment in highway construction, which spurred the emergence of large-scale expressway construction. Around that time, the country implemented the strategy of developing the western regions, and enhanced the construction of railways, highways, airports and major gas pipelines there. It set the goal of “building asphalt and cement roads in rural areas to facilitate urbanization,” bringing a new upsurge of rural road construction. China furthered the reform of the port management system and accelerated the construction of ports. It separated postal services and telecommunications services, and government functions and enterprise operation in postal services, promoting modern postal services integrating information flow, capital flow and logistics.
The Chinese government issued the Medium- and Long-Term Railway Network Plan, National Expressways Network Plan and related programs, while vigorously improving basic transport public service capacity, urban and rural passenger transport, urban public transport and transport safety emergency rescue. In 2008, China’s Ministry of Transport (MOT) was established, and efforts were made to put all management of transport by air, water and land, as well as postal services under the ministry. The same year, the Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Railway was opened to traffic, marking the start of China’s high-speed rail era.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the construction of a modernized comprehensive transport system has been accelerated. In 2013, railway sector realized separation of government functions from commercial operations, and the institutional reform to establish an efficient government department to exercise unified management of transport by air, water and land, as well as postal services was basically completed. The transport sector has pushed reform to a higher level by enhancing law-based management, promoting comprehensive, smart, green and safe transport, and formulating development plans to serve the Three Initiatives – the Belt and Road Initiative, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Integration Initiative and the Yangtze River Economic Belt Initiative. China has expedited the building of a comprehensive transport infrastructure network, and reinforced the connectivity of multiple modes of transport, advancing modern logistics in this sector and securing comprehensive transport services. It has enhanced the supply and management of basic public services for transport, supporting the development of transport infrastructure in contiguous impoverished areas, urban and rural passenger transport and urban public transport. China has also promoted balanced development of transport in its eastern, central, western and northeastern regions. In this regard, western China has quickened its pace in developing high-speed railways, and overall central and western China’s transport conditions have been greatly improved. In 2013, the Motuo Highway in Tibet was opened to traffic, indicating that every county in China now had access to highways.
Over the past 60-odd years, China’s transport has undergone the phases of bottleneck, preliminary alleviation and basic adaptation to socio-economic development demands. China has narrowed its gap with world-class transport, and surpassed the latter in several fields. A modernized comprehensive transport system is now emerging on the horizon.
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.
III. Playing a Basic, Pioneering and Serving Role
To complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, the Chinese government gives priority to transport, which plays a basic, pioneering and serving role in promoting economic and social development, in serving the people and improving their living standards, and in enhancing ecological progress.
- Promoting Economic and Social Development
Supporting economic growth. Investment in transport infrastructure is the engine of stable economic growth. During the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015), a total of RMB12.5 trillion was invested in China’s transport infrastructure. The improvement in the transport network and relevant services has increased the efficiency of economic operation, reduced logistics cost, boosted the development of relevant industries such as automobiles, shipping, metallurgy, logistics, e-commerce, tourism and real estate, and created many jobs. In 2015, China’s total online purchasing transactions, supported by the postal industry, surpassed RMB3 trillion.
Ensuring cargo transport. China’s convenient and efficient logistics network has ensured the smooth and efficient transition between different means of transport, enhanced the efficiency of the logistics system, and guaranteed the transport of coal, crude oil, iron ore, grain, and other key items of cargo. In 2015, some 670 million tons of coal were shipped at Chinese ports, which also unloaded 320 million tons of crude oil and 1 billion tons of iron ore. Express lines were made available for fresh farm produce, effectively meeting the needs of the people.
Facilitating the coordinated development between regions and between urban and rural areas. The Chinese government gives priority to the development of transport and enables the transport industry to play a pioneering role in supporting the regional development of eastern, central, western and northeastern China and the Three Initiatives, in an effort to connect China’s developed, moderately developed and underdeveloped areas. China is building economic belts and urban agglomerations along the railway lines from Beijing to Shanghai and Guangzhou, along the coastline and the Yangtze River, near the ports in the Yangtze River and Pearl River deltas and along the Bohai Sea Rim, striving to make these areas the most economically viable and populous in the country. The growth of intercity highway transport and the development of intercity rails have facilitated the integrated development of urban agglomerations, and the integration of urban and rural transport is bringing the urban and rural areas closer economically.
- Serving the People and Improving Their Living Standards
Providing transport services to the people and making their travel safe and convenient. China is striving to build a sound system to improve transport safety, upgrade the transport structure and improve transport services, in an effort to provide better services to people. The transport capacity and service during the Spring Festival (i.e., Chinese New Year) and other travel peaks have been significantly enhanced. In cities, the percentage of people taking public transit is on the rise, and comfort level of such transport means has been greatly enhanced. With the rapid growth of the “Internet + transport,” passengers can now check the real-time status of traffic, plan their trips ahead of time, purchase tickets online, and enjoy “smart” parking and other one-stop services. The transport service and complaints hotline 12328 has been put into use.
Supporting the poverty reduction and eradication effort. Entering the 21st century, China has initiated a dozen projects to connect townships, towns and administrative villages to the road grid, and built transport infrastructure in contiguous impoverished areas, with increased support for transport development in rural and impoverished areas. During the 12th Five-Year Plan period, over RMB550 billion of vehicle purchase tax was allocated to support transport development in poor areas. In contiguous impoverished areas, 83.8 percent of county seats now have roads of Grade II or above, and 86.2 percent of administrative villages have tarmac and cement roads. More buses now operate on routes linking poverty-stricken areas, and ropeways are being replaced by bridges.
Effectively addressing emergencies. The transport emergency response system plays a key role in the rescue and relief work following natural disasters, accidents and similar contingencies. In the wake of the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, Yushu earthquake in 2010 and the devastating snowstorms in southern China in 2008, emergency transport response teams were among the first to arrive at the scene and open up “lifelines” for relief. China’s marine search and rescue teams have been engaged in rescue work connected with many emergencies at sea, and actively took part in the search for the Malaysian Airline flight MH370. In the period 2010-2015, China organized and coordinated 12,411 marine search and rescue missions, saving 108,464 lives, including 8,070 foreigners.
- Enhancing Ecological Progress
Promoting energy-saving and emission-reduction. China has been vigorously promoting the green development of transport. Compared to the 2010 levels, in 2015, the comprehensive energy consumption per unit railway transport dropped by six percent, the energy consumption per unit transport turnover of operating vehicles and ships went down by 6.5 percent and 10.5 percent respectively, and the ton/km fuel consumption of civil aviation decreased by almost five percent. The strategy of “public transit priority” has been implemented, supported by growing new- and clean-energy means of transport and a rapidly developing public bicycle rental system. In the Pearl River and Yangtze River deltas, and Bohai Sea Rim (Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei) area, restriction zones have been set up to curb emissions from ships. Along the arteries of the Yangtze River and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, and in some coastal regions, pilot and demonstration projects of LNG use have been launched for water-borne transport, oil vapor recovery units installed at some ports and shore power provided to ships.
Protecting the ecological environment. China is promoting ecological conservation in the planning, designing, construction, and operation of transport projects, and has built a number of railways, highways, ports and sea routes for demonstration purposes. It is also experimenting with ecological restoration technologies in transport infrastructure in deserts, alpine regions, and reclamation areas. During the 12th Five-Year Plan period, China restored the ecology along 1,300 km of transport lines, with a total area of 50 million sq m. The recycling rate of road-surface materials reached 40 percent. Measures have been adopted to control dust pollution at coal and other minerals transport ports, and equipment storages and installation venues have been set up in coastal areas and along the Yangtze River in case of oil spills. Instead of tracks laid on the ground, many of China’s high-speed trains run on elevated rails to spare farmlands and keep the towns along the routes intact.
IV. Opening up and International Cooperation
The Chinese government proactively enhances its connectivity with the world community, continuing to open up to and deepening its cooperation with the rest of the world. An all-dimensional, multi-layer and multi-channel framework has been formed in transport as regards opening up to the outside world and international cooperation.
- International Passenger and Freight Transport
Strengthening international connectivity. By the end of 2015, China had established railway connections with five 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 around the year, are connected to roads at Grade II or above; and a group of logistics parks and cargo operation centers capable of handling international logistics have been put into use. China actively promotes international and regional cooperation in shipping, and is jointly pushing forward the navigation development of the Lancang-Mekong River with Laos, Myanmar and Thailand. Through code-sharing, airline alliance, joint operation of air routes and equity cooperation, China’s civil aviation is striving to improve its international flight network, increase the number of flights and expand its operational scope. In 2015, Chinese express delivery services extended their networks overseas, with 430 million items of mail delivered to international destinations as well as to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. At the same time, China is strengthening cooperation with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, actively pushing forward the interconnectivity of transport infrastructure and enhancing transport convenience. In 2015, Chinese citizens made some 120 million trips overseas via various means of transport.
Supporting foreign trade. China is a major trading nation, and the quickened development of its transport provides a strong basis for building a new multi-dimensional structure of opening up and for enhancing China’s competitiveness internationally. An important pillar for developing an export-oriented economy, China’s maritime transport carries 90 percent of the country’s foreign trade cargo, 98 percent of imported iron ore, 91 percent of imported crude oil, 92 percent of imported coal and 99 percent of imported grain. Trains between China and Europe have become an important component of international through freight traffic.
- International Exchanges and Cooperation and Opening up
Actively participating in international affairs. The Chinese government has always valued the role of and actively participated in the activities of international transport organizations. It takes measures to fulfill its obligations, and plays a constructive role in the Organization for Railway Cooperation (OSJD), International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Universal Postal Union (UPU) and other important international transport organizations. As a founder of the OSJD, China has made great contribution in formulating the organization’s various standards and regulations. China has served as member of both the UPU’s Postal Operations Council and Council of Administration since it resumed its legitimate seat at the organization in 1972. It has been elected 14 times as a category-A member of the IMO Council since 1989, and five times as a category-A member of the ICAO Council since 2004. China actively promotes bilateral and regional cooperation. It has signed intergovernmental agreements and bilateral and regional documents on railway, highway, maritime transport, civil aviation and postal service cooperation with more than 100 countries. Several transport cooperation mechanisms have been set up, such as the China-ASEAN and Shanghai Cooperation Organization transport ministers’ meetings, and a proposal has been made by China to establish a seaport service organization for APEC. China actively fulfills its international obligations, supports the transport development of other developing countries, and has aided the construction of a series of transport projects in Asia and Africa.
Continuing to expand the scope of opening up. The transport industry was one of China’s first industries to open to the outside world. In 1979, the China Merchants Group, then under the administration of China’s former Ministry of Transport, founded the Shekou Industrial Zone in Shenzhen, taking the first step in the country’s opening-up initiative. In 1984, the Chinese government opened 14 coastal cities, and coastal ports became windows opened to the rest of the world. Today, in the area of transport infrastructure, except railway arteries and civil airports, all highways, bridges, ports, other types of railways and urban rail tracks are open to foreign capital as far as construction and operation is concerned. There is no limit on foreign capital for transport services such as highway freight, international container multimodal transport, and supporting services for international maritime transport.
Quickening the pace of Chinese enterprises’ “going global.” China has exhibited a strong competitive edge in the areas of railway building, transport projects and port operation. China transports one third of the total global maritime cargo. China’s transport businesses are quickening their steps of “going global,” and are transforming themselves from traditional labor export and project contracting entities to exporters of capital, technology, management and standards in the areas of transport infrastructure, port operation, ocean transport, transport equipment, ship inspection and maritime training.
V. Development Goals for the Next Five Years
During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), China will continue to develop its transport industry in accordance with the overall plan to seek economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress and the Four-pronged Strategy. It will implement the guideline of innovation, coordination, green development, opening up, and sharing of benefits, continue to center on the people’s needs, improve the quality and efficiency of development, and fully utilize the comparative advantages of different means of transport. China will continue to develop its transport grid characterized by intelligent management, integrated services and green development, and build a comprehensive transport system with functional “nodes” that connect domestic and international transport channels, cover urban and rural areas, and provide integrated and efficient transport services. All this will contribute to the completion of the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, to the growth of the Chinese economy, and to connecting China more closely with the rest of the world.
Driving the reform of transport to a deeper level. China will promote the further integration of different means of transport, and build a safe, convenient, efficient, green, and economical modern transport system. It will push ahead the market-oriented reform of its railways, deepen reforms of the investment and financing system, financial powers and expenditure responsibilities, and reform its airspace management system. At the same time, it will further promote the transformation of government functions, continue to streamline administration and delegate powers to lower levels, strengthen regulations, improve government services and enhance administrative efficiency.
Building a transport network that covers the whole of China and extends beyond its borders. China will build a comprehensive transport network that spreads from east to west and south to north, construct passageways that extend beyond its borders, and develop sea routes for the Maritime Silk Road. China will develop a high-quality fast-transit grid, form a high-speed rail network, improve the national expressway network, build an appropriate number of expressways at the local level, and enhance the functions of airline hubs and national and regional airports. China will improve its basic road network to cover more areas, speed up the construction of railways in the central and western areas, upgrade national and provincial highways and construction of congested sections, improve coastal and inland river transport facilities, strengthen the construction of roads and airports in rural areas, and connect the oil and gas pipelines in different areas. China will improve its postal services and network, and strengthen the infrastructure for express mail delivery. By 2020, China will have 30,000 km of high-speed railways, covering 80 percent of big cities, and 30,000 km of newly renovated expressways. Administrative villages with the necessary conditions will have tarmac and cement roads and shuttle bus services, and all villages will have access to mail service.
Developing modern and efficient intercity transport. In urban agglomerations, China will build commuting circles of 1-2 hours between the central cities and between central and peripheral cities, and one-hour commuting circles between central cities and key peripheral towns. In urban areas, it will vigorously develop intercity high-speed and suburban railways, and form a multi-level rail transit network. With priority focused on public transit, China will speed up the development of its urban rail and bus rapid transit, and other means of high-capacity public transport. By 2020, intercity railway networks will be completed in the urban agglomerations of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta, middle reaches of the Yangtze River, Central Plains, Chengdu-Chongqing, and Shandong Peninsula areas. More efforts will be made in cities with three million or more residents to form urban rail transport networks, and about 3,000 km of new tracks will be added to the urban rail transit system. China will also strengthen the development of terminals for postal and express delivery services.
Building integrated transport hubs. China will enhance the layout of its transport hubs, build international transport hubs in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and improve the services and functions of national, regional and local transport hubs. It will strengthen the construction of key transport centers in central and western China and key ports in border regions, and increase their impacts over a wider area. China will improve the services of its transport hubs, improve the transfer facilities and the collecting and distributing networks, enable seamless passenger and freight transfer, and coordinate different means of transport, so as to increase the efficiency of transport and logistics.
Promoting the green and intelligent development of transport services. China is striving to push forward the green development of transport through conservation and intensive use of resources and promoting the use of standardized, low-carbon, and modern equipment and energy-saving means in the transport sector. With the implementation of the “Internet + transport” action plan, China is encouraging the development of intelligent transport, and the application of advanced information technology and smart appliances. More efforts will be made in the development of through-transport, smart management and public information systems, in strengthening multimodal transport, and in enhancing the quality and profit of transport services.
Improving safety in the transport industry. China will improve the regulations and system for transport safety control, and see to it that the responsibilities of transport businesses and those of the supervising organs are thoroughly implemented. China will strengthen its capacity for emergency response and rescue, emphasizing precautionary measures, carrying out special actions to ensure transport safety and strengthening the screening of potential safety hazards and security risks. It will also focus on key areas, fully implement safety control in the transport industry, and resolutely strive to reduce the occurrence of serious accidents.
To achieve the Two Centenary Goals and realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, higher standards must be set for the development of transport in China. Transport promotes development, exchanges bring about cooperation, and interconnectivity enables mutual benefits. The Chinese government will continue to improve the country’s transport services so as to better serve China’s socioeconomic development, and continue to strengthen cooperation in the area of transport with other countries so that they can take new opportunities and address challenges together to realize common development and prosperity.