Posts tagged ‘transportation’

16/09/2013

Off the Menu: Hong Kong Government Bans Shark’s Fin

Austerity and anti-graft comes to the rescue of sharks (whose fins are cut and hence the fish bleed to death).

WSJ: “Hong Kong may be the capital of the world’s shark’s fin trade, but as environmentalists step up their campaign against the delicacy, even this city’s government has declared it off-limits.

Last year, China’s government announced it would stop serving shark’s fin soup at official banquets, a move that was heralded by green groups around the world, though it will likely take years to come into effect. Now, Hong Kong is following suit, banning the dish at official events and requesting civil servants to refrain from eating it at other functions, along with other endangered species such as bluefin tuna and black moss. The move comes as international companies from luxury Shangri-La hotel chain to Cathay Pacific Airways have declared they will refuse to serve or carry most shark’s fin.

Altogether, said Allen To of the World Wildlife Foundation, more than 150 corporations have pledged not to serve the dish—a gelatinous, stringy soup that’s believed to have curative properties—at their own banquets. “But it’s still very common at wedding banquets,” said Mr. To, noting that at local restaurants, it can be more expensive for couples to swap out shark’s fin soup for other luxury dishes such as abalone or bird’s nest soup.”

via Off the Menu: Hong Kong Government Bans Shark’s Fin – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

02/09/2013

IAF inducts its biggest transport aircraft C-17 Globemaster III

Times of India: “Giving a major thrust to IAF‘s capability to swiftly move troops and tanks to battle fronts, defence minister A K Antony on Monday formally inducted its biggest 70-tonne C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft into service at the Hindon Air Base.

Thirteen C-17 Globemaster III aircraft fly ove...

Thirteen C-17 Globemaster III aircraft fly over the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia during low level tactical training Dec. 20, 2005. These C-17 planes are assigned to the 437th and 315th Airlift Wings at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The plane’s induction is a giant stride for the force and it will perform tactical and non-traditional operations also, he said.

The C-17 Globemaster III aircraft has been procured from the US under a deal expected to be over Rs 20,000 crore. A symbolic key of the plane was presented by the Minister to the unit’s commanding officer to mark its induction.

Speaking on the occasion, IAF chief NAK Browne said the plane will be operated from the advanced landing grounds in the northeastern states as well as from high altitude bases in north and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.”

via IAF inducts its biggest transport aircraft C-17 Globemaster III – The Times of India.

24/07/2013

Sri Lanka teams up with Chinese firm for $1.4 billion port city

Reuters: “Sri Lanka has finalized a $1.43 billion deal with China Communications Construction Co Ltd (601800.SS) to build a city on a 230 hectare site that will be reclaimed from the sea, the head of the state-run Ports Authority said on Wednesday.

A general view of the Colombo South Harbor at Colombo Port July 24, 2013. REUTERS-Dinuka Liyanawatte

The site is next to the island nation’s main Colombo port and Colombo‘s historic Galle Face Green seafront. It is also close to where Shangri-La Hotels Lanka Ltd, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Shangri-La Asia Ltd (0069.HK), is building a 500-room hotel.

“The Chinese firm will invest in reclaiming the land and infrastructure of the port city,” Priyath Wickrama, chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority, told reporters. “It will be given around 50 hectare of reclaimed land on a 99-year lease for its investment.”

The 39-month long construction project will start in September, Wickrama said, adding the city would include eco-parks, residential areas, offices and shopping malls.

Since the end of a nearly three-decade war in May 2009, the Indian Ocean island nation has been spending heavily on infrastructure, including ports to attract foreign investments to its $59 billion economy.

It has already created new land near the proposed port city as part of its expansion of the Colombo port to double its capacity by 2015.”

via Sri Lanka teams up with Chinese firm for $1.4 billion port city | Reuters.

21/07/2013

Hauling New Treasure Along the Silk Road

NY Times: “AZAMAT KULYENOV, a 26-year-old train driver, slid the black-knobbed throttle forward, and the 1,800-ton express freight train, nearly a half-mile long, began rolling west across the vast, deserted grasslands of eastern Kazakhstan, leaving the Chinese border behind.

Dispatchers in the Kazakh border town of Dostyk gave this train priority over all other traffic, including passenger trains. Specially trained guards rode on board. Later in the trip, as the train traveled across desolate Eurasian steppes, guards toting AK-47 military assault rifles boarded the locomotive to keep watch for bandits who might try to drive alongside and rob the train. Sometimes, the guards would even sit on top of the steel shipping containers.

The train roughly follows the fabled Silk Road, the ancient route linking China and Europe that was used to transport spices, gems and, of course, silks before falling into disuse six centuries ago. Now the overland route is being resurrected for a new precious cargo: several million laptop computers and accessories made each year in China and bound for customers in European cities like London, Paris, Berlin and Rome.

Hewlett-Packard, the Silicon Valley electronics company, has pioneered the revival of a route famous in the West since the Roman Empire. For the last two years, the company has shipped laptops and accessories to stores in Europe with increasing frequency aboard express trains that cross Central Asia at a clip of 50 miles an hour. Initially an experiment run in summer months, H.P. is now dispatching trains on the nearly 7,000-mile route at least once a week, and up to three times a week when demand warrants. H.P. plans to ship by rail throughout the coming winter, having taken elaborate measures to protect the cargo from temperatures that can drop to 40 degrees below zero.

Though the route still accounts for just a small fraction of manufacturers’ overall shipments from China to Europe, other companies are starting to follow H.P.’s example. Chinese authorities announced on Wednesday the first of six long freight trains this year from Zhengzhou, a manufacturing center in central China, to Hamburg, Germany, following much the same route across western China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland as the H.P. trains. The authorities said they planned 50 trains on the route next year, hauling $1 billion worth of goods; the first train this month is carrying $1.5 million worth of tires, shoes and clothes, while the trains are to bring back German electronics, construction machinery, vehicles, auto parts and medical equipment.

DHL announced on June 20 that it had begun weekly express freight train service from Chengdu in western China across Kazakhstan and ultimately to Poland. Some of H.P.’s rivals in the electronics industry are in various stages of starting to use the route for exports from China, freight executives said.

The Silk Road was never a single route, but a web of paths taken by caravans of camels and horses that began around 120 B.C., when Xi’an in west-central China — best known for its terra cotta warriors — was China’s capital. The caravans started across the deserts of western China, traveled through the mountain ranges along China’s western borders with what are now Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and then journeyed across the sparsely populated steppes of Central Asia to the Caspian Sea and beyond.

These routes flourished through the Dark Ages and the early medieval period in Europe. But as maritime navigation expanded in the 1300s and 1400s, and as China’s political center shifted east to Beijing, China’s economic activity also moved toward the coast.

Today, the economic geography is changing again. Labor costs in China’s eastern cities have surged in the last decade, so manufacturers are trying to reduce costs by moving production west to the nation’s interior. Trucking products from the new inland factories to coastal ports is costly and slow. High oil prices have made airfreight exorbitantly expensive and prompted the world’s container shipping lines to reduce sharply the speed of their vessels.

Slow steaming cuts oil consumption, but the resulting delays have infuriated shippers of high-value electronics goods like H.P’s. Such delays drive up their costs and make it harder to respond quickly to changes in consumer demand in distant markets.”

via Hauling New Treasure Along the Silk Road – NYTimes.com.

Related articles

21/06/2013

4.7-trillion-yuan plan to double mainland road network by 2030

SCMP: “Central government earmarks 4.7 trillion yuan for upgrading and extending roads, giving the country 400,000km of highway by 2030

shenzhen_international_toll_roads_4634887.jpg Newspapers suggest 4.7-trillion-yuan plan to double mainland road network by 2030

The mainland will spend 4.7 trillion yuan (HK$5.9 trillion) in the next 17 years to more than double its network of major roads, top transport officials said yesterday.

Dai Dongchang , chief planner with the Ministry of Transport‘s general planning department, told a press conference that a recently approved blueprint for road expansion included 50,000 kilometres of toll highways and 160,000 kilometres of toll-free “national trunk ways”, which are narrower and have slower top speeds.

The mainland has 173,000 kilometres of the two kinds of road at present and the plan approved by the State Council last month says that should rise to 400,000 kilometres by 2030.

By then, toll-free trunk ways should connect all counties, Dai said, while highways should connect all cities with populations of more than 200,000, as well as important transport junctions and border ports.

Huang Min , head of the National Development and Reform Commission‘s basic industry department, said 18 cities of more than 200,000 lacked highway links at present, while more than 900 counties were not connected to national trunk ways.

The new highways would include two north-south routes in the nation’s west, Huang said, with many of the 900 counties expecting new trunk ways also located in the west.

The mainland now had about 110 million private vehicles, 60 times the number in 1981, when the plan for the existing road system was drafted, he said.

Dai said the volume of goods carried on mainland roads was 3.7 times the volume carried on United States’ roads and was expected to at least double by 2030, along with the number of passenger vehicles.

He said China had previously paid more attention to the construction of highways and small roads in the countryside, leading to sluggish development and poor maintenance of trunk ways.

The blueprint forecasts a total of 5.8 million kilometres of roads on the mainland by 2030 – 84 per cent countryside roads, 9 per cent provincial roads and 7 per cent highways and trunk ways.”

via 4.7-trillion-yuan plan to double mainland road network by 2030 | South China Morning Post.

See also: http://chindia-alert.org/economic-factors/chinas-infrastructure/

06/06/2013

Beijing bike-sharing program needs more riders

Beijing copies London’s Boris Johnson but with less success.

China Daily: “There are 14,000 bicycles for rent in the city, and they’ve been used 700,000 times. More than 20 million people live in Beijing. Public rental bikes have been sitting idle as not enough riders use the service, some using the rental areas to park their own bicycles or electric vehicles. Also, the bicycle lanes are often used by cars, making cycling a dangerous option.

Beijing bike-sharing program needs more riders

Public bike rental service, aimed at providing an alternative, low-carbon transport service to residents, was first tried in Beijing’s Dongcheng and Chaoyang districts, which have high traffic flow, and the service was extended to Daxing and Yizhuang districts by the end of 2012

via Beijing bike-sharing program needs more riders[1]|chinadaily.com.cn.

09/05/2013

* China’s Airport Building Boom

BusinessWeek: “The first rule of airline travel in China is: Don’t cut connections close. Assume your first flight will be late, and leave plenty of time than to scramble to your next gate. Fortunately, if you’re flying between major Chinese cities, you can bide your time in a gleaming new airport with plenty of shops selling tea, lattes, snacks, souvenirs, and even prestige apparel. (Only in Chinese airports have I seen stores selling “BMW Lifestyle” clothing).

Beijing Capital Airport

In China, travel is booming, giving rise to new airports and hotels to accommodate the inbound masses. The International Air Transport Association forecasts that by 2016, China will have 415 million fliers annually, second only to the U.S. in volume of domestic passengers. Volume at the Beijing Capital Airport has tripled in the last 10 years; the city’s second major airport will open by 2018. In all, the current Five Year Plan calls for 55 new civil airports by 2015, bringing China’s total to 230.

The build-out is good news for the obvious suspects, including travelers, hotels, and retailers that profit from travel. In a recent report, the Virginia-based Global Business Travel Association estimated that spending related to business travel in China will increase 14.7 percent in 2013, to $224 billion. (GBTA estimates comparable spending in the U.S. in 2013 will be $268.5 billion.)

For many of the Chinese cities caught up in the airport-construction boom, it’s been a mixed blessing. In 2011, China’s Civil Aviation Administration recorded that 75 percent of its civil airports were operating at a loss, according to the China Daily. High levels of debt assumed by local governments to finance airports and other large infrastructure projects are a growing worry for China. Last month Fitch downgraded China’s credit rating, expressing concerns especially about local debt. In its assessment, the credit rating agency noted: “Fitch believes total credit in the economy including various forms of ‘shadow banking‘ activity may have reached 198 percent of GDP at end-2012, up from 125 percent at end-2008.”

One component of the mismatch is that Chinese airline carriers have focused on connecting major hubs, with far fewer flights to secondary destinations. As a result, while small regional airports are often eerily quiet, industry analysts believe Beijing’s Capital Airport is on track to overtake Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as the world’s busiest.”

via China’s Airport Building Boom – Businessweek.

16/04/2013

* Henan villagers ‘beaten up by hundreds of rail workers’ over land dispute

SCMP: “Villagers in central China’s Henan province who were protesting a land grab in Huangchuan county said they were beaten up by hundreds of employees from the China Railway 13th Bureau at the weekend.

rail.jpg

The villagers were demonstrating against the bureau, which planned to build a new railway line. They said they were “indiscriminately” attacked on Sunday morning by more than 300 uniformed construction workers with metre-long sticks, news portal Dahe.cn reported on Monday.

The protesters said the attackers spoke in northeastern Chinese accents and destroyed 30 mobile phones of those who had tried to film the incident. A villager’s car was also smashed up.

Police were called in but were “forced to turn back” by the 300 workers, the report said.

More than 10 people were injured and two were still in hospital on Monday.

The land dispute arose after villagers tried to prevent the bureau from acquiring the land for a new line for the Nanjing-Xian Railway. Villagers said the compensation offered to them was too low.

The China Railway 13th Bureau is a large state-owned construction enterprise and subsidiary of the China Railway Construction Corporation. Prior to 1948, it was part of the People’s Liberation Army Railway Corps No 3 Division.”

via Henan villagers ‘beaten up by hundreds of rail workers’ over land dispute | South China Morning Post.

11/04/2013

* New Beijing airport targets 2018 opening

While London continues to debate expanding Heathrow or building a new airport, Beijing takes action. Sometimes politicians in the West use ‘democracy’ as an excuse for slow progress. But often it is due to simple lack of will and decisiveness.

China Daily: “Construction of a new airport in south Beijing will start next year, and the facility is expected to be completed and put into use in 2018, local authorities announced on Wednesday.

Beijing Capital International Airport (北京首都国际机场)

Beijing Capital International Airport (北京首都国际机场) (Photo credit: dbaron)

Preliminary work prior to the construction of the airport, located in Daxing district, bordering Hebei province, is under way, sources with the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform said.

They added that the airport will be linked with three expressways, including one that will be newly built along the southern central axis of Beijing.

Under-way discussions over an urban rail transit to connect the airport are likely to be finished within the year.

The new airport project was approved at the end of 2012, as part of efforts to spur the development of Beijing’s southern suburbs.

Meanwhile, an air transport-related economic zone is also planned, with an investment of 84 billion yuan ($13.39 billion).

Upon completion, the new airport is expected to ease traffic pressure on Beijing Capital International Airport, which remained the world’s second-busiest airport in 2012 in terms of passenger throughput. Its passenger volume reach 81.8 million last year, according to a statement published by the airport in January.

via New Beijing airport targets 2018 opening |Society |chinadaily.com.cn.

16/03/2013

* Shell, Samsung in China pilot to ease currency controls

Reuters: “China has eased strict cross-border currency rules for 13 multi-national firms including Samsung and Shell in a scheme that further cranks open its tightly controlled capital account, financial sector sources told Reuters.

A Shell fuel leaves the Kingsbury fuel terminal, central England June 11, 2008. REUTERS/Darren Staples

The experiment, which has not been publicly announced by the government, gives firms freedom to shift funds worth up to 30 percent of their invested capital in China across its borders, bankers directly involved in the scheme said.

The move responds to growing demand from international firms operating in China for freedom to use soaring stores of yuan, also know as the renminbi, to boost the efficiency of their management of capital while keeping speculative pressure at bay.

“It’s a way of opening up the capital account which helps companies deal with the real flows of the economy,” Michael Vrontamitis, head of product management of transaction banking for East Asia at Standard Chartered in Hong Kong, told Reuters.

“Those are the real flows. These companies are not speculating on the currency,” said Vrontamitis, whose bank is handling transactions for Shell under the pilot program.

Six of the firms involved are foreign, eight company executives and bankers with knowledge of the matter said. They are Shell, Samsung, Intel Inc, Alcatel-Lucent, Schneider Electric and Caterpillar Inc.

The other seven companies are Chinese state-owned enterprises: Sinochem Corp, China Minmetals Resources, China Shipping Group, COFCO Group, Baosteel Iron & Steel, Shanghai Electric Group Co. and China Eastern Airlines.

Some of the names of participating companies and banks have been reported in the Chinese media, but the full list has not been disclosed. The currency regulator declined to comment.

via Shell, Samsung in China pilot to ease currency controls: sources | Reuters.

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