|Luoyang: From Small Wharf to Thousand-Ton Port|
Following the completion of the two river transportation hubs—Youbu and Yaojia—on the Jinhua area of the Qujiang River, and the development of cargo shipping projects along the Qujiang and Lanjiang rivers, the entire upper and middle channels of the Qiantang River resumed navigation in January 2019, ushering in a new era along the long-silent Jinhua inland waterways. Fleets transporting thousands of tons of goods will go through Jinhua in a network connecting riverways and the ocean. Prosperity along the waterways will return as it was depicted by Li Qingzhao’s “waterways cross the South for thousands of miles.”
The prosperity of riverways can establish a connection with the hinterland, but the role of ports is necessary. In this case, that is how the Jinhua Port Luoyang Operation Area (aka Luoyang Port) came into being.
The Luoyang Port project was launched on December 27, 2019, and the port became operative on June 29 this year with the effective opening of eight berths. The total estimated investment of the project is about 575 million RMB, and a total of eight berths for 1,000-ton ships will be built, planning to meet an annual capacity of 2.2 million tons.
“All the prefabricated components on the wharf have implemented standardized, traceable, and intelligent management,” said a staff member of Jinhua Wubaitan Shipping Development Co., Ltd. Undertaking the construction of the Luoyang Port project, the company has set the goal of realizing a safe and quality project since its launch.
Many are the opportunities and challenges for the ancient wharfs which face the present while reminiscing the past. The old wharf of Yangbu is located six or seven kilometers upstream from Luoyang Port. Until the 1960s, before the major development of land transportation, Yangbu Wharf used to be a major node in the shipping route along the Qujiang River. The wharf, in fact, has witnessed the prosperity of the river’s transportation routes.
Xu Jiajun, a resident of Yangbu, used to work as a boatman when he was young. Recalling the atmosphere of those times, he said: “Every afternoon after 3 o’clock , boats would dock one after another, and the old streets of Yangbu would become particularly lively. The docking used to rely on manpower, having to paddle down the water and pull the ropes against the water. The loading capacity of cargo ships used to be relatively limited; each ship could carry 12 tons to 16 tons of cargo in the downstream direction, and it has to be halved in the upstream direction,” said Xu, who later switched to work as a carpenter until retirement. At the end of the 1960s, with the increasing development of land transportation such as roads and railways, coupled with the construction of downstream hydropower stations, the importance of river transportation along the Qujiang River for shipping gradually weakened.
In the following steps, as the construction of waterways advances, Jinhua will form a waterway network connecting local rivers with the sea. A single 500-ton ship will be able to navigate east from the Qujiang River and Lanjiang River via the lock of the Fuchun River and reach international ports of Shanghai and Ningbo, as well as moving north into the waterways of the Grand Canal (Beijing-Hangzhou Canal) and the ship routes along the Yangtze River.
According to relevant statistics released by the Provincial Port and Shipping Administration Center, in the first half of 2021, Jinhua Port completed a total cargo throughput of 913,100 tons, increasing 158.96% over the same period last year. According to the plan, the throughput of Jinhua Port will exceed 10 million tons by 2025.
In this context, the construction of the Luoyang Port is crucial, making the port a comprehensive modern operation area with functions such as cargo handling, storage and warehousing, collection and distribution, and transit services. After completion, the Luoyang Port will primarily handle water transport cargo ships, connecting them with the urban area of Jinhua. At the same time, it will further enhance the transfer and storage functions of containers, steel, coal, building materials, and other waterways transiting along the central and western regions of Zhejiang. This will certainly contribute to Jinhua’s urban construction and economic development. It is planned that by 2022, Luoyang Port will become a comprehensive modern port operation area and strategic node of the Qujiang shipping waterway.
According to Wang Feng, member of the Party Committee of the Municipal Highway and Transportation Administration Center, the development of inland water transport will help transform the mode of transportation and promote the expansion of the industrial belt along the rivers. As a major developmental direction of the 14th Five-Year Plan, Jinhua will focus on the integration and development of port-industry-city. “According to Jinhua’s basic industrial development, we can focus on expanding port logistics, equipment manufacturing, automobile and parts manufacturing, cement and building materials, new materials, among other leading industries, and actively expand water transportation services such as new materials, textiles and clothing, and port tourism,” Wang Feng said. (Text and photo by Yu Ping, translated by Marco Lovisetto, edited by Mariam Ayad)