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 Update from April 3
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Chongqing claims strong signs of recovery:

Chongqing Municipal Statistics Bureau said that the city showed strong signs of recovery in April, with industrial output up by 13.3 per cent over the same month last year and 6.6 percentage points higher than March.
Industrial output for the first four months increased 7.4 per cent year-on-year to Rmb176.6bn, up 2.6 percentage points over that of the first quarter. The city’s pillar industries — automobiles and motorcycles, natural gas and petrochemicals, and machine engineering — accounted for nearly 60 per cent of this total.
Investment in fixed assets during the first four months of the year rose by 32 per cent to Rmb98.1bn. Investment in agriculture posted the biggest surge of nearly 183 per cent to Rmb2.7bn. Local government revenues increased by 34 per cent over March to Rmb7.82bn due to improved output and collection levels.
Officials from the bureau believe that the city’s economy has now bottomed out and is starting to climb once again.

Domestic containers to grow at 10-15% in 2009:

Mr Song Desing, Director of Inland Waterway Department under the Ministry of Transport, said in an interview published on 19 May that the growth of domestic container volumes would fall below 20 per cent for the first time in recent years, but it would still grow at the relatively healthy pace of 10-15 per cent for the year.
While foreign trade-related container traffic will continue to slide as a result of the current worldwide economic downturn, he said, containers for domestic trade will become the new driving force for China’s shipping market.
He cited Guangzhou as an example of this trend. The port in Guangdong province reported a domestic trade-related container throughput of 7.69m teu in 2008, up 22.4 per cent year-on-year, while the growth in foreign trade-related boxes was only 2.7 per cent. On a national level, he said, the proportion of domestic containers among container traffic across Chinese ports has risen from eight per cent, or 2.21m teu in 2001, to 24 per cent, or more than 30m teu in 2008.

State Council approves Yangtze Waterway blueprint:

The Yangtze Waterway blueprint, compiled by the Ministry of Transport, the State Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Water Resources and the Ministry of Finance, has recently received approval from the State Council.
According to the blueprint, the central government will spend Rmb43bn on dredging projects across the entire trunkline between now and 2020 to increase the Yangtze’s cargo-carrying capacity. By 2020, the Chongqing-Chenglingji section will be able to accommodate barge fleets of 6,000-10,000 dwt; 3,000 dwt ocean-going vessels should be able to sail between Chenglingji and Wuhan; 5,000 dwt ocean-going vessels should be able to sail from Wuhan to Nanjing; ocean-going vessels of 30,000-50,000 dwt should be able to sail all the way from the Yangtze mouth to Nanjing and vessels of 100,000 dwt can sail on tide, according to the blueprint. Every extra metre in water depth typically allows the passage of another 1,000 teu, therefore reducing shipping costs significantly.
The cost of these ambitious plans, while substantial, is dwarfed by government expenditure plans on road and railway projects. This year alone, the central government has budgeted Rmb103.5bn to spend on roads and Rmb73.2bn on railways.

Wuhan wages climb 2 per cent in April:

According to a research report released by Hubei provincial job centres association, the average pay offer available in April at Wuhan job centres was Rmb1,322 a month, up 2 per cent over March. The biggest demand was for sales and marketing executives, accounting for 32 per cent of all offers in the job centres. Demand for building engineers, landscape architects and surveyors increased steadily over the first four months due to increasing investment in infrastructure projects in Wuhan. Demand for advertising executives fell by 11 per cent over March as companies across the board have cut back on their advertising budgets in the current economic downturn.
Separate figures show that take-home pay for residents of 16 cities in the Yangtze River Delta continued to rise in the first quarter. The largest increase was for those living in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, where wages grew 18.2 per cent over the same period last year. Other cities that recorded a double digit increase included Yangzhou (12.8 per cent), Nantong (12 per cent), Zhenjiang (11.3 per cent), Taizhou (11.1 per cent), Suzhou (10.7 per cent) and Nanjing (10.5 per cent). Residents of Suzhou earned average an quarterly wage of Rmb7,792, the highest in Jiangsu province.

Nanjing Yangtze Tunnel to open by June 2010:

Tunnelling work on the Nanjing Yangtze Tunnel was completed on 20 May, according to China News Service. More than 3,000 metres long and with a diameter of 15 metres, it is technically the most challenging project in China. The project was carried out 65 metres under the water and is expected to start operation by June next year.

Ford to build second plant in Chongqing:

Ford Motor Co has approved a plan to build a second assembly plant in Chongqing to meet fast-growing demand for its cars in China, Xinhua reported.
Through its joint venture Changan Ford Mazda, Ford will build the plant almost next to its existing assembly plant in the city. The new plant is designed to assemble more than 300,000 vehicles a year, most of them existing Ford SUV models. An auto engine manufacturing plant will be constructed nearby.
Ford’s first China plant, built with Mazda and Chongqing Changan Auto, produces about 250,000 vehicles annually. It has another plant in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, which has an initial capacity of 160,000 vehicles a year.

New steel marketing centre for Chengdu:

Construction work started in late April on western China’s largest steel marketing centre.
Longgang Steel Marketing Centre will be located in Longtan Industrial Park in Chengdu’s Chenghua district. The Rmb500m project will cover an area of 47,000 sq metres and should be completed in 2010.

Airport go-ahead for Chizhou:

Approval has been granted for the construction of a regional airport in Chizhou, Anhui province. Building work will start later this year and will take two-and-a-half years to complete, said Xinhua.
The airport will be located in Meilong township, some 20km from Mount Jiuhua, one of China’s four most renowned Buddhist mountains.
The project will cost Rmb734m and passenger throughput has been estimated at 500,000 a year.

More ports approved for direct shipping to Taiwan:

Five more mainland ports have been approved for direct shipping with Taiwan, reported Xinhua. The addition of Tongling, Shidao, Laizhou, Taizhou Damiyu and Ningbo-Zhoushan brings to 68 the total number of approved ports.
During a meeting on cross-Straits direct shipping in Xiamen, the PRC also agreed to exempt Taiwan shippers from business and corporate taxes on profits earned in the mainland from direct shipping. The exemption is effective as of 15 December last year.

Toll acquires total control of St-Anda:

Toll Holdings, Australia’s largest logistics services company, has acquired the remaining 49 per cent of Shenzhen-based ST-Anda Logistics it does not already own. It purchased the shares from China Merchants Group for an undisclosed sum.
As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toll, St-Anda’s operations will now be integrated into those of Toll in China.
The acquisition remains subject to Chinese regulatory approvals, which are expected to take three to six months to obtain.

Dow to set up chemicals logistics centre in Tianjin:

Dow Chemical is to spend US$200m on creating a logistics centre in Tianjin. It will cover 50 hectares in Nangang Industrial Zone.
The centre will provide liquid chemicals storage services and is designed to handle 9m tonnes of liquid chemicals a year. Two large liquid chemical tank areas will be built along with areas for road and railway tank loading and unloading.

Chongqing accelerates transport construction work:

Chongqing is to spend Rmb300bn by 2012 on improving its transportation facilities, said Huang Qifan, executive vice-mayor of the municipality.
Some Rmb100bn will be used to improve its railways, river ports and Jiangbei International Airport. Another Rmb100bn will be channelled into building new inter-regional expressways, including those linking Chongqing with Hunan, Shanghai and Yibin and Luzhou in Sichuan province. By 2012, the total length of such inter-regional expressways in Chongqing will reach 2,100km.
The final tranche of Rmb100bn will be spent on improving the transportation system within the municipality. About 1,000km of expressways will be built connecting all districts and counties in Chongqing, while the light rail system will be extended to a total length of 116km.
Mr Huang said that travel to any place inside the city centre would take less than 30 minutes when the upgraded urban network is completed. He also said that the construction of high-speed railways will enable a four-hour trip to a number of cities such as Chengdu, Nanning and Guiyang in neighbouring provinces and regions by 2015.

Jiangsu announces major new petrochemical projects:

A total of Rmb83.1bn will be invested in nine petrochemical projects in Jiangsu over the next three years, according to a statement by the provincial government.
CNOOC Ltd, an arm of China’s largest offshore oil company China National Offshore Oil Corp, plans to launch a refining project this year with a potential annual output value of Rmb15bn. It will be located in Taizhou, a city on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. The first stage of the project will be operational in 2011.
BASF-YPC, a large-scale petrochemical joint venture in Nanjing between BASF and Sinopec, will expand its second-stage ethylene project to meet market demand.
Jiangsu Chengxing Phosph-Chemical, located in Jiangyin city on the southern bank of the Yangtze downstream of Taizhou, currently specialises in making phosphoric acid, phosphate products and yellow phosphorus. It now plans to set up a terephthalic acid (PTA) plant with estimated annual output of 600,000 tons. The new project will be completed in March 2010.
Another petrochemical company, based in Xuzhou, in the northwest of Jiangsu, will start a methyl alcohol project with predicted yield of 1.5m tons a year.

Uni-President to invest in Wuhan dairy base:

Taiwan-based food and beverage group Uni-President plans to produce dairy products in Wuhan, Hubei province, reported China Retail News.
Xiao Fengshi, the general manager of Uni-President Central China, said Wuhan was attractive because of its central location, low costs and human resource skills. The company will also relocate its training and research centres to the city and invest US$15m to expand its beverage production lines in Wuhan by the end of 2009.
However, it ruled out for the time being the prospect of raising cows in the area.

Chongqing landslide leads to temporary closure of Yangtze:

Some 20,000 cubic metres of mudstone fell into the Yangtze River on 18 May after a landslide on a section of the river’s bank in Wushan county, Chongqing. The slide overturned a beacon and narrowed the navigation course by 100 metres, resulting in the closure of this section of river for five hours.


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