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China builds world's largest transport networks with record investment


An illustration of smart transportation. /CFP
An illustration of smart transportation. /CFP

An illustration of smart transportation. /CFP

China's transportation networks grew to over 6 million kilometers in length in 2023, with the world's largest high-speed rail network, expressway network, postal express delivery network and an interconnected network of world-class port facilities, according to a report released by the Ministry of Transport on Tuesday.

The country's transport sector has undergone rapid development, fueling robust transportation services that underpin China's economic growth. In 2023, the sector saw significant investment, with 3.91 trillion yuan ($539 billion) in fixed-asset investment, reflecting a 1.5-percent year-on-year increase, said the report. 

This investment has yielded impressive results. By the end of 2023, China boasted the world's largest railway network, reaching 159,000 km in total length, with 45,000 km dedicated to high-speed travel. The country's extensive road network also saw significant expansion, reaching 5.44 million km, with 183,600 km of freeways. Additionally, China added five new commercial airports in 2023, bringing the total to 259, the report noted. 

The year of 2023 wasn't just about building new infrastructure, it also focused on improving existing networks. The year saw a significant expansion of high-speed rail lines, with 2,776 km added, and expressway networks grew by 6,394 km through new construction and expansion projects. Rural areas also benefited, with 188,000 km of new or rebuilt roads completed, according to the report. 

This robust infrastructure translates into real-world benefits. In 2023, China achieved a staggering 8.1 percent year-on-year increase in commercial freight transportation, reaching a total volume of 54.75 billion metric tonnes. Passenger movement also saw a significant surge, with cross-regional passenger trips reaching 61.29 billion, reflecting a remarkable 30.7 percent increase from the previous year, said the report. 

The Ministry of Transport also highlighted the achievement of full postal service coverage in China, ensuring all established villages across the nation have access to essential postal services.

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