Outline of the day
The delegation travelled to the New Beijing Airport site at Daxing for a briefing and site visit, before returning to Beijing to meet the HSR to Tianjin. The Committee travelled the 170km between Beijing and Yujiapu (Tianjin) in just over an hour. It then travelled to the headquarters of Tianjin Port for a briefing on the development and operations of the port, before conducting a site visit at East Port. The delegation then travelled to Tianjin airport where it caught a flight to Chengdu.
Beijing New Airport, Daxing
The delegation met with staff of the New Beijing Airport Construction Headquarters, led by Mr Wang Qiang of the airport’s planning and design department, before visiting the new airport site. Mr Wang delivered a comprehensive overview of the development and its significance to the region.
The new airport is being developed as a new gateway to China. It is the largest integrated transportation project to date. With six runways and serviced by four expressways as well as HSR and Metro connections, it is designed to service 100 million passengers per annum. In addition, the new airport economic area will allow for intensive development of the airport precinct.
The design of the new airport focusses on innovation. It is shock insulated—a protection from both earthquakes and the seismic impacts of the underground rail network. It has seamless connectivity—with a particular focus on readiness for the 2022 Winter Olympics. It is designed to be smart, green and ‘sponge’. Its goal is to be a 100% green building. It also sits on the largest single concrete slab in China.
The airport is also designed to integrate with the existing Beijing airport as part of a multi airport system servicing a region with a population of 170 million. It is positioned to be a regional hub, and its multi-direction runways are synchronised with the existing airport. Certain airlines will be based at the new airport while others continue to operate through the existing airport. The new airport has a six pier form (six-pointed star), with five piers servicing aircraft from 79 contact stands. The design of the airport ensures that despite its size everything is within a 600m walking distance. Road access will be via a double-deck kerbside, while the airport will be connected to five rail and metro lines.
Figure 3.1: New Beijing Airport, Daxing
The delegation at the centre of the New Beijing Airport terminal.
The new airport project is following an ambitious timetable: terminal and runways complete by December 2018 and first flights in late 2019. Stage One—70 million passengers, 2 million tonnes of cargo and four operational runways—is due by 2025. The ultimate goal is 100 million passengers and 4 million tonnes of cargo through 180 000 air movements on six runways.
The delegation was impressed with the scale of the vision and design of the new airport and the speed with which the development of the airport was being brought into operation. It demonstrated an understanding of the infrastructure and development needs of the region by the Chinese Government, and a capacity and will to implement plans to meet agreed goals.
Figure 3.2: Welcome to Tianjin
The delegation arrives at Tianjin Port HQ
The delegation met with staff of the Tianjin Port, led by Mr Yu Houxin, Director of Planning and Construction Development, before visiting the port site. Mr Yu delivered a comprehensive overview of the development of the port and its significance to the region.
The Tianjin port is located in the Tianjin-Binhai New Area, a special economic development zone. It forms the entry point for seaborne cargo to the China-Mongolia-Russia economic passage. It is the world’s largest artificial port, and in 2016 had the 5th largest throughput in terms of tonnage (550 million tons) and the 10th largest for containers (14.5 Million teu). It has 176 berths, is capable of taking vessels of up to 300 000 tons, and has a capacity to handle a complete range of cargoes, including containers, coal, oil, iron ore, bulk grain, steel and vehicles, as well as cruise ships. It has relations with 500 international ports in over 180 countries and regions, and services some 52% of China. It forms part of the Tianjin Pilot Free Trade Zone (one of four free trade zones located in coastal China, the others being Shanghai, Fujian and Guangdong; others have subsequently been established in Liaoning, Zhejiang, Henan, Hubei, Shaanxi, Chongqing and Sichuan provinces) and the Belt and Road Initiative. It is the port for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei city cluster. It is one of 3 port clusters—Tianjin, Yangtze River and Pearl River clusters. It is envisaged that by 2020, Tianjin Port will reach a container throughput of 17 million teu and a passenger volume exceeding one million. It is expected to become a leading international port providing smart, green and safe services, contributing to the economic development of Tianjin and the surrounding region.
The port is a state owned enterprise operating under the auspices of the local government in Tianjin. It has revenues of some ¥2 billion, assets of ¥120 billion, and provides a profitable environment and services to private companies. It also has social and environmental responsibilities under government policies. Tianjin Port manages twenty-five inland dry ports which are part of the distribution network for goods—providing a platform for one-stop services for businesses inland. The port is a major export outlet for vehicles (1 million units), construction machinery, heavy machinery and steel.
Figure 3.3: Visit to Tianjin Port
Delegation members receiving an on-site briefing at Tianjin Port
The delegation visited East Port within the China (Tianjin) Free Trade Zone, which includes a terminal operation zone (operating 23 cranes with a capacity for 4 million teu), logistics and processing zone, and comprehensive service zone. It also contains a residential area with marina and artificial beach. The East Port is a joint venture with a Singapore company worth ¥6.6 billion, and operates as a concessional foreign-trade only port. It is principally serviced by road transport, but government environmental requirements have directed a modal shift to rail.
The delegation was impressed by the size, capacity and apparent efficiency of the port, as well as the breadth of vision of the concepts underpinning its development and operation.