Foreign investors sought for north-east ferry-train services
China is looking for foreign investors interested in building and managing a 3.1-billion-yuan (about US$380.36 million) ferry-train link between the northeastern port city of Dalian and Shandong province's Yantai, just to the south across the Bohai Gulf.
The Railway Ministry has joined the governments of the cities of Dalian (Liaoning province) and Yantai in setting up a company, China Railway Bohai Sea Ferry Train, to manage the project. The new company's general manager, Jie Jianfeng, said the firm intended to bring in foreign capital and management personnel for the project, however the foreign partners will be limited to a 49-per-cent stake.
Mr Jie did not say how much money they had raised so far, but said that the construction work alone would cost 2.2 billion yuan, including the ferry, railway links and piers. The ferry is expected to be able to cover 79.4-nautical-mile distance between Dalian and Yantai in about six hours. The Ministry hopes the ferry will serve as a major link between China's northeastern regions and theYangtze River Delta area.
The ferry link will also take some of the pressure off railway routes along the coast like the Beijing-Shanghai, Shenyang-Shanhaiguang, and Jinan-Qingdao routes. Mr Jie explained that the ferry-train link would cut anywhere from 400 kilometres to 1,000 kilometres off the distance of those coastal railway lines between northeastern and eastern China.
He said the ferry-train link was also cost efficient for freight and could save up to six hours in travel time when compared to the inland routes. Mr Jie said they hope to start the project later this year and complete it within two years, also no specific date has been set.