Although rain is now giving relief from China’s six month drought, navigation for cargo shipping is still restricted on the Yangtze river – the longest river in Asia – as conditions vary from drought to flood.
The drought suspended cargo shipping along a 224-kilometer (140-mile) stretch in the middle and lower reaches of the river and exacerbated power shortages at the beginning of the peak summer season.
The Yangtze River carries more cargo than any other river in the world, carrying 1.5 billion tons in 2010 according to the 2010 Yangtze River Merchant Shipping Report released on May 23. It transported three times as much cargo as the Mississippi River and five times as much as the Rhine.
Merchant shipping on the river has contributed 120 billion yuan directly and 2000 billion yuan indirectly to the economic growth of the coastal cities. The shipping business has also created 200 jobs.
The shipping capacity of the Yangtze River artery has been expanded during the last five years and the construction of coastal ports was accelerated. Xix 100-million-ton harbours have been completed, which are in Suzhou, Nantong, Jiangyin, Nanjing, Zhenjiang and Wuhan.