Mainland air freight bucks slowing trend

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 January, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 January, 1996, 12:00am

AIR freight continued to be the exception to the declining trend in China's transport industry in the first 11 months, the State Statistics Bureau says.

While air freight zoomed 21.8 per cent to 915,000 tonnes, total freight volume on the mainland fell 1.8 per cent to 2.46 billion tonnes.

Railway freight totalled 132 million tonnes in November and passenger volume reached 73 million passenger-kilometres.

Of the total freight in the 11-month period, road freight fell 8.3 per cent to 423 million tonnes.

River freight slipped 3 per cent to 571 million tonnes and railway freight volume increased 0.9 per cent to 1.46 billion tonnes.

Freight turnover in the period rose 6.6 per cent to more than 2,696 billion tonne kilometres, it said. Freight turnover is an important indicator in monitoring labour productivity and economic efficiency.

Railways had a 3.2 per cent rise in freight turnover to 1,174.52 billion tonne km, while road freight turnover fell 6.2 per cent to 24.17 billion tonne km.

Air freight turnover was 2.18 billion tonne km, up 2.1 per cent, while water freight turnover grew 9.7 per cent to 14,951.49 tonne km.

Major coastal ports handled 656 million tonnes of cargo in the 11-month period, 5.6 per cent more than in the same period last year.

Robust growth in cargo and passenger traffic has created increasing demand for new airports, which China hopes foreigners will help build.

Beijing is looking not only for foreign engineering expertise but also for money, which is tight in China because a tight credit policy has made government loans scarce.

China's Civil Aviation Administration is seeking foreign co-operation in building or expanding 32 airports over the next five years, according to Xinhua (the New China News Agency).

It cited proposed new airports in Guilin, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Haikou in southern China, as well as the expansion of Chengdu Shuangliu Airport in Sichuan province.

By some estimates, as many as 43 airport projects are either planned or under way in China to accommodate astounding growth.

Of the 43 airport projects in various stages of development, some represent conversions of military fields; some are expansions of civilian airports; and others are being built from scratch.