Shanxi drives its transport development forwards


North China's Shanxi province continues to make progress, after it achieved a great leap forward in terms of the development of its transportation sector over the past few years. 

During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20), the province's total road mileage expanded to 144,000 kilometers. The length of highways completed and opened to traffic during the period reached 5,745 km and 27 out of 33 planned highway exits to other provinces were completed – while all the planned 12,500 km of ordinary national and provincial roads were finished. 

A rural road network system covering counties and villages was basically formed in the province during the period, with the total mileage of roads open to traffic amounting to 126,000 km. 

To reduce logistics costs and benefit drivers, Shanxi has taken the lead in rolling out preferential policies for differentiated highway tolls. In the past six years, a total of 6.7 billion yuan ($1.03 billion) of truck tolls have been reduced and exempted, benefiting some 200 million trucks. 

A provincial tourism traffic network has been formed – with three major tourist roads along the Yellow River, the Great Wall and Taihang Mountains having extended 3,469 km by the end of 2020. 

In terms of the rail sector, Shanxi achieved full coverage of its high-speed rail service in its 11 cities – with 45 local counties, county-level cities and districts having launched high-speed Electric Multiple Unit trains. 

The province has also launched 448 China-Europe freight trains since 2017, as well as opened nine international cargo rail service routes radiating out to 26 cities in 11 countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. 

In terms of aviation, by the end of last year, Shanxi's airports had opened 304 passenger routes and all seven of its airports had provided general aviation guarantee services. Meanwhile, Shanxi General Aviation Group opened nine short-distance air routes and 10 low-altitude tourism programs. 

The passenger throughput for civil aviation in the province achieved rapid growth during the period. A star among the airports in the province was Taiyuan Wusu International Airport, whose passenger throughput reached 14 million in 2019, making it one of the busiest airports in China. 

To top it off, Taiyuan and Datong cities have been included in the list of 80 national comprehensive transportation hubs. 

With the construction of the national comprehensive three-dimensional transportation network, Shanxi is expected to be deeply integrated into the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region coordinated development and other important economic circles and urban agglomerations.

This is expected to support the province's further transformation and development, said Wang Sixiao, deputy director of Shanxi Department of Transportation.