West Coast New Area

Shandong in fast lane to growth

By Zhao Ruixue | (China Daily) | 2024-04-11


Zhou Naixiang, the governor of Shandong, speaks at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office on Shandong's high-quality development in Beijing on April 10. [Photo/CFP]

The city of Liaocheng, Shandong province, has seen a significant increase in railway passengers, particularly during the Spring Festival travel rush from late January to early March, following the launch of a high-speed railway line in December.

During the travel rush, Liaocheng West Railway Station handled an average of around 8,000 passengers daily, according to Liu Ruitong, a staff member at the station.

The new high-speed rail line, which links Jinan, the capital of Shandong, with Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, is expected to further improve the regional rail network, facilitate the travel of people living along the line, and promote the high-quality development of the regional economy.

"Strong transportation helps advance the high-quality development of all industries. Shandong is the first province in China to collaborate with the Ministry of Transport on establishing a model area for a robust transportation network," Zhou Naixiang, the governor of Shandong, said in Beijing on April 10.

"Shandong has been accelerating the development of a modern, comprehensive and multidimensional transportation system, yielding substantial outcomes," Zhou said at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office on Shandong's high-quality development.

Over the past three years, Shan­dong completed five new high-speed rail lines and increased the total length of the province's high-speed rail lines to 2,810 kilometers, ranking No 1 among the country's provincial-level regions.

Every day, a total of 145 trains operate between Jinan and Qingdao, a coastal city in Shandong, with "a frequency comparable to that of buses", Zhou said.

After the completion of another seven high-speed rail lines, which are now under construction, the total length of Shandong's high-speed rail network will exceed 4,300 km, connecting 16 major cities across the province.

The province has also been expanding its urban and rural road networks. Over the past two years, 14 new expressways were completed and opened to traffic, while another 33 are under construction. The total length of operational expressways has surpassed 8,400 kilometers, with 36.6 percent of them having six lanes or more, Zhou said.

Spanning 264,000 km, Shan­dong's rural road network has reached every village in the province, laying a solid foundation for rural vitalization.

The province aims to maintain the robust momentum in transportation infrastructure construction and plans to invest 325 billion yuan ($45 billion) in the sector this year, said Zhou.

Efforts will also be made to improve the freight logistics system and promote the integration of road and waterway transportation. The province plans to operate more than 2,300 China-Europe freight trains this year, said the governor.

In addition, Shandong will increase investment to develop smart transportation and accelerate the application of cutting-edge technology such as autonomous driving and fully automated port operations.