Plans are going ahead for the second phase of a harbor development to improve links between southern China and Hong Kong.
The government has approved a proposal to speed up construction of Yantain harbor in Shenzhen, a special economic zone in Guangdong province adjacent to the British colony.The project is China's most ambitious attempt at intermodalism, intended to be a showpiece port for international handling of containers and conventional cargoes.
China's ports are notoriously congested and land links to Hong Kong, the best port on the Chinese coast, are inadequate for the growing volume of trade.
Yantain will be linked to the Kowloon-Canton Railway that joins Hong Kong and Guangzhou, as Canton is now called.
In addition to the rail link, a 45-mile highway will be constructed to join the new harbor to Guangdong's highway network.
The port is projected to have an annual cargo-handling capacity of 2.8 million metric tons on completion of the first phase. Building began late last year, but no completion date has been announced.
Construction crews are expected to finish three berths this month, one for 3,000-ton vessels and two for 1,000-tonners. Preparations are under way to launch the second phase, which will include a 100,000-ton coal transshipment wharf.
Yantain is on Dapeng Bay, where some inshore drafts are 52 feet. Chinese transport officials describe the wide expanse of sea in the bay as "ideal for creating many zones to moor ships."
A section where shipping channels will be created has a natural depth of between 56 and 72 feet. Officials said at least 100 berths can be erected there for ships of between 10,000 and 150,000 tons.
The plan calls for construction of a number of container wharves in the next two to three years.
As part of the intermodal phase, the government is slated to open in August a third overland route from Shenzhen to Hong Kong. The city of Huanggang will join Wenjindu and Shatoujiao in making transshipment of goods easier.
Provincial authorities are building an expressway nearly 85 miles long to join Huanggang with Guangzhou. Road work is scheduled for completion in two years.
Elsewhere in Guangdong, Shuidong port has been opened to foreign vessels after a directive by the State Council, the country's highest governing body.
The port encompasses a 1.3 million-square-foot area with two berths for 500-ton ships. Under construction are a container terminal for vessels from 10,000 to 30,000 tons and a 3,000-ton berth.