Jiangsu province will build more than 1,200 kilometers of railways and add air routes to further develop its transportation network and generate new growth points for sectors such as e-commerce, smart manufacturing, tourism and automobiles, senior officials said.
The total length of the eastern province’s railway network will grow from the current 2,791 kilometers to over 4,000 kilometers by 2020, according to Lu Yongquan, director of the Jiangsu Transportation Department and a deputy to the National People’s Congress, the top legislature.
The province plans to build more regular and high-speed railroads in northern Jiangsu, where the transportation network is weaker than in other parts of the province, Lu said, adding that four high-speed railroads with a total length of 958 kilometers are already under construction.
Eager to enhance its connection with more markets related to the Belt and Road Initiative, Jiangsu will also add five international passenger and freight routes this year, he said.
“We will deploy more resources to upgrade both existing infrastructure facility size and service ability in nine civil airports throughout the province, as well as develop airport economic zones to cultivate businesses such as aviation logistics, high-end manufacturing and modern services,” Lu said.
Jiangsu opened its fifth international long-distance passenger route from its capital, Nanjing, to Milan, Italy, last year and added a route from Nanjing to St. Petersburg, Russia, in January.
Wang Jiang, Jiangsu’s vice-governor and an NPC deputy, said a well-developed railway network and more air routes will assist the province in promoting steady growth in foreign trade and investment, especially with economies related to the Belt and Road Initiative.
Jiangsu saw booming foreign trade with countries and regions involved in the initiative last year, according to the province’s annual government work report.
Export volume to markets related to the initiative exceeded 590 billion yuan ($92 billion), up 16.3 percent year-on-year, accounting for more than 24 percent of total exports, while it attracted more than $1.3 billion of direct investment from those economies.
More than 1,100 companies from Jiangsu have invested in 54 countries and regions related to the initiative since 2013, with 70 percent of investment worth over $10 million.
However, over 60 percent of outbound passengers and 95 percent of the air transportation of imported and exported goods still rely on airports outside Jiangsu, according to the government.
Wang said the province will speed up reforms of the airport management system and complete a feasibility study to support Huai’an Lianshui Airport to build an air cargo airport that will improve the province’s capacity to facilitate foreign trade via airfreight services.