The State Council of the People's Republic of China released the 13th Five-Year Plan for Modern Comprehensive Transportation Systems on Feb. 28. Xiamen is to be designated a top-grade nationwide international comprehensive transport hub for the first time.
Comprehensive transportation hubs play an important role in modern transport systems as they links up multiple modes of transport and have an impact on the movement of both passengers and goods. For Xiamen, this plan sets out the guidelines to transform Xiamen into a truly modern international city and lays the foundations for it to become a national key city.
The plan mentions Xiamen eleven times which indicate its importance within the future development of transportation. As well as the construction of a high-speed railway from Fuzhou to Xiamen the city has been involved in other priority projects within the high-speed transportation network. Additionally, there will now be a new airport in Xiamen, Xiangan. The plan also ensures the construction of the Xiayu high-speed railway, further container ports, railways servicing the ports and connecting links to highways. Alongside this, the construction of cruise ports will proceed, providing seaside and lakeside tourism as well as catering for private yachts.
The way to become a international comprehensive transport hub
Xiamen is a world-renowned port city as well as one of the home ports of three major cruisers. Xiamen which previously had just one major harbour in Dongdu has grown into a city with ten harbour districts around Xiamen and Zhangzhou. It is an important junction in nationwide comprehensive transportation systems and also plays a significant role in container shipping. It is a principal port for southeast China’s international transport and transport towards Taiwan, and is rated within the top 20 container ports in the world. Nowadays, cruises departing from Xiamen can head for Southeast Asia, and the cargo ships can reach anywhere in the world.
Today, Xiamen is connected by four railway passenger lines: the Yingxia, Fuxia, Longxai and Xiashen. This is set to be augmented by a further line in the future. The first China-European cargo train departed from Xiamen two years ago. This was the first non-stop line from Xiamen to Europe and Central Asia as well as the first through line to depart from a nationwide free area trade to Europe and Central Asia. This was part of the Belt and Road policy to make the seamlessly connection of land and sea a reality. The China-Europe line has been in stable operation since August, 2015. By the end of February 2017, it had sent trains 89 times and the value of exported goods was over 1.5 billion RMB. This year, the New Silk Road Railway from Xiamen to Moscow will be launched which additionally connects onwards to Lodz in Poland, Nuremberg in Germany and Tilburg in The Netherlands.
The first European air route from Xiamen to Amsterdam was launched on Jul. 26, 2015. After this, routes between Xiamen and Sydney, Melbourne, Vancouver and other international destinations have been opened up and a Xiamen-Los Angeles route is scheduled to go into operation. This means that local residents can finally take direct flights to Europe, America and Australia. These intercontinental routes have given Xiamen Airport strategic advantages that add to its existing strengths: hinterland connections and transfers towards Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Xiamen is set to become an important airline hub for flights connecting to Europe, America and Australia.