Port to be model for openness and innovation

From Xuzhou, Jiangsu province, you can travel to the largest number of provincial capitals in China by high-speed bullet train.

The city has been a transportation hub for thousands of years. With hundreds of bullet trains running along its tracks, it has become a perfect blend of ancient and modern times in the age of high-speed railways.

In the recent five years, Xuzhou invested 107.9 billion yuan ($16.6 billion) to improve its transportation system. More than 500 kilometers of new traffic lines, including railways, waterways and highways, were constructed during the time, with the total mileage reaching 18,800 kilometers.

From 2015 to 2020, the city’s road and waterway freight volume increased by about 30 and 32 percent respectively.

With its convenient transportation links, Xuzhou has been establishing its Huaihai International Port Area since July 2020. It aims to become one of the country’s models for opening-up and a leading zone in economic innovation.

The area covers 110 square kilometers and includes highways, high-speed railways and an international airport.

The Customs Joint Inspection Building, a key project in the port area, is under construction. Upon completion, the building will provide a full set of services, such as customs declaration, customs supervision and railway transportation service.

Import and export companies in Xuzhou, neighboring cities and provinces can get full customs services at the building.

Yan Guanglei, director of the area’s commercial port department, said that the building will greatly improve the storage capacity of the containers for China-European freight trains and basically meet the demand for 1,000 such freight trains annually.

“The traffic efficiency at the port will be significantly improved,” he said. “A world-class customs clearance environment will be created, which will give an impetus to the development of the local economy and the Huaihai Economic Zone.”

The area also plans to attract a number of high-tech companies, and build more hotels, schools and parks.

Huang Shiwang, chief engineer of Xuzhou Transport Bureau, said that the construction of the Lianyungang-Horgos Expressway meant a lot to the city.

“Together with Lanzhou-Lianyungang Railway, the expressway poses great opportunities for Xuzhou to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, expand its development in many aspects and promote the economies of the downtown area and surrounding counties.”

“The excellent transportation and infrastructure will attract many industries to cluster in the city,” he said. “And the development of the industries will also stimulate the city to improve its transportation.”

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