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May 11, 2010

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May not look it, but Shiliupu dock river-rider ready

THE revitalized Shiliupu Dock, boasting a history of about 150 years, is ready for travelers - and wishing they'd show up.

The dock south of the Bund has been transformed into a water tourism center with abundant commercial and leisure facilities.

"The dock has launched a trial run," said Xia Juping, an official with the Huangpu District Tourism Bureau.

The cruise-ship terminal - with 12 berths for river sightseeing ships, a passenger waiting hall and ticket office on the B1 floor - is open.

Two cruise companies have started operations, and other sightseeing-ship companies will be joining them.

But the dock hasn't gained much business yet. Many people apparently are unaware it's open because signs for it are few and the supporting facilities aren't yet finished.

"We have asked dock workers to add clear introduction signs to the compound," said a ship ticket seller worker surnamed He.

The sightseeing platform near the shore is still unready. Stores on the B2 level haven't opened. Neither has the parking space on the B3 floor.

"It was very inconvenient with restaurants not opening yet," said a tourist surnamed Dong. She said she was hungry as she waited for the sailing of her cruise liner yesterday afternoon.

Once all the facilities are in full swing, officials are sure that cruises on the Huangpu River from the Shiliupu Dock will be a tourist must.

The Shiliupu Dock area, one of the city's oldest wharf areas, used to be responsible for shipping between Shanghai and offshore cities. It played an important role in the city's development into a busy shipping hub.

But it was on the decline in the last few decades as the city changed and other transportations rose in importance.

The opening-up and development of the Pudong New Area and the establishment of the Yangshan Deep-Water Port further chipped away at Shiliupu.

But with growth on both sides of the Huangpu River, the dock was designated by the city government to be rebuilt into a first-rate water tourist center.

The renewed dock area is linked by an underground passageway to the Bund Area Transport Hub, which has four bus stations and a parking area for tourist and commuter buses.


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