Category Archives: Infrastructure

Zhuhai mayor speaks out on Line 18

Zhuhai’s Mayor, Yao Yisheng, turned a few heads at the Guangdong provincial congress’ media session yesterday when he called out to Guangzhou’s deputy mayor, saying “I want to connect with you!”

He was not referring to their personal guanxi, of course, but to the stalled plan for Guangzhou’s Line 18 to be extended further southwards once it opens in Nansha later this year. Zhuhai and Zhongshan have been eagerly awaiting news of progress on the line, which has not been forthcoming since around September last year, according to local media.

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Intercity railway could run between three GBA airports

Chen Rugui, Shenzhen’s mayor, would not have said this without clearing it with someone higher up, so we have to assume that it’s being taken seriously: The GBA’s intercity railway network could be redesigned to run across the border to Hong Kong, linking all three of the region’s major international airports. Or, a new high-speed railway could be built, which would make travel time between the three nodes even faster.

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Intercity Railway officially opens, at last

One of the biggest infrastructure projects in the GBA, Guangzhou-Dongguan-Shenzhen Intercity Railway, also known as the Suishen Raiway, officially opened to the public on Sunday after repeatedly delaying its launch over technical issues, according to Southern Daily. 

The 74-km railway, with 11 years of construction, was initially set to open on National Day and later postponed to November 1. The trains run from Guangzhou East Station in the capital’s Tianhe business district to Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport with a highest speed of 146 km/h, although stopping at different sets of stations.

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Shenzhen lays out 2035 transport targets

Shenzhen is building a public transport system with rail transit as its core. By 2035, the end of the GBA masterplan, most residents should need to walk no more than 10 minutes to reach a railway station.  

According to the city’s overall transport development plan, released this week, the combination of Metro, Intercity, and High-Speed Railways should cover more than 1,000 sq km of land by 2035. That is more than three times what it has built to date. 

The eight Metro lines currently under development in the city are the biggest growth phase of the project, and by 2022 at least half of the total network will have been built. Daily passenger flow is at a maximum of around 6.5 million.  

Intercity rail is being given a high priority, too, as many Shenzhen residents are living further from urban clusters due to rising living costs. Last year, about 1.36 million trips were made from Shenzhen to neighboring Dongguan and Huizhou, but this is expected to increase to 6.2 million per day by 2035.  

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Nansha Port Railway to open next year

The Nansha Port Railway Project, linking Jiangmen, Zhongshan, Foshan and Guangzhou, is set to open to traffic by the end of 2020, according to local media.  

The Nansha Port Railway, which will be predominantly used for cargo and is a key project within the Belt and Road Initiative, leads from the Heshan South Station of the Guangzhou-Zhuhai Railway and goes southeast through Jiangmen, Foshan, Zhongshan, and Guangzhou to Nansha Port. The length of the new line is 88.8 kilometers with a total investment of 15.2 billion yuan. It has a design speed of 120 km/h. 

Construction of the line began in 2016, and it is planned to be opened to traffic by the end of 2020. It involves one major engineering challenge, which is the main bridge across the Xijiang River, the largest spanned cable-stayed bridge in the world. 

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Guangzhou South hub details released

Guangzhou unveiled today a detailed land plan for its new 1 trillion-yuan economic hub around the Guangzhou South Railway Station, with nine railway lines to be connected and a high-rise of 350 meters to be constructed. 

The “South Station Area” is being jointly developed by Guangzhou and Foshan, aimed at attracting companies from Hong Kong and Macau. In developing the “world’s best railway station”, the 36 sq km project will house s population of 335,000 and include 184 public service and municipal transportation facilities. A dozen old villages in the area will be completely renovated.  

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HK, Shenzhen to get another joint port facility

Hong Kong and Shenzhen will have a second joint border-crossing facility operational by 2002, once the Huanggang-Lok Ma Chau port is renovated, according to officials. This follows the example of the West Kowloon train station, where customs and immigration facilities from both sides are housed inside the same building.

A temporary inspection site is expected to be open by late January next year, shortly after the Lunar New Year holidays, but it will only be able to handle 30,000 daily passengers. Once the permanent facility is ready, the number will reach 200,000. At present, it handles around 80,000, and at the peak, around 100,000. 

Cargo will no longer run through this port, however, as the recently opened Liantang port to the east had eased demand for trucking facilities. The new port will have a range of other facilities, and will be part of a major project in the area designed to boost collaboration between Shenzhen and Hong Kong companies engaged in science and technology innovation.

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Railways, bridges update: more speed, less haste

Will Hong Kong one day be cut out of the Greater Bay Area’s one-hour “life circle”? It might sound like an absurd suggestion, but when plans are scrutinized more carefully for a proposed new link between Shenzhen and Zhuhai, it is easy to indulge such paranoid thinking. 

This week, both city governments released updates on the so-called Deep Bay project, which runs through the Lingdingyang Channel, professing their support for it. This link would allow the eastern and western sides of the Bay to be within half an hour of each other, bypassing Hong Kong.

On the other hand, plans for a second high-speed railway line running from Guangzhou to Hong Kong, via Dongguan and Shenzhen, suggest Hong Kong will be drawn ever-more tightly into the Bay’s transport network. This one might even be running Maglev trains at 600km/h.

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Huizhou, Shenzhen combine port operations

Here is a good story about Greater Bay Area integration that is working, and delivering results. Huizhou has a deepwater port with significant potential. Shenzhen has container traffic that it needs to manage better, as its existing ports at Yantian and Shekou are running at high capacity utilization. Putting their management together makes sense, and that is what they have done. 

They are calling it the “Huiyan Combination Port” operation. It essentially involves closer collaboration between the Yantian and Huizhou container terminal, which enables streamlined customs declarations and inspection procedures for Huizhou Port, and improves handling procedures for loading and unloading international vessels in Yantian Port. 

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Macau to lease part of Hengqin Port

Macau has been formally approved by the Central Government to take control of an area in the new Hengqin Port, which is due to open on December 20. This will enable visitors to pass through both mainland and Macau Customs and Immigration inside the port’s main hall, an arrangement similar to Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Railway Station.

The National People’s Congress standing committee is due to ratify the arrangement today, after it was approved by the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office. The Macau government will lease the area until the end of the SAR’s term, December 20, 2049.

The new arrangement will bring a significant improvement in the arrival experience for visitors to Macau. With immigration desks situated side by side in Hengqin, visitors will be able to cross the Lotus Bridge separating the two sides without having to disembark and pass through a second checkpoint. 

It is unclear, however, whether visitors will be able to take buses directly from Hengqin to any point in Macau, or whether they must still take a shuttle bus across before changing to local transport on the Macau side of the Lotus Bridge. The Macau government has not yet clarified the details of public transport arrangements between the two sides after December 20. 

It had originally been hoped that Macau’s long-delayed Light Rail Transit system would be connected directly to the new Hengqin station. It is not yet ready for operations, however, and so visitors will still need to be bussed across.