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Congestion eased on creek

TRAFFIC flow on Suzhou Creek resumed yesterday evening after authorities managed to ease alarming levels of congestion that caused jams and deadlock last weekend.

The congestion is being caused by Shanghai's increasing demand for infrastructure construction materials, many of which make their way into the heart of the city on barges on the canal, said the Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration.

The on-going Shanghai-Beijing Express Railway and the Hongqiao Integrated Traffic Hub projects have also increased the shipments of construction materials on the creek.

The heavy rain earlier this month also caused many operators to postpone journeys and so when the weather cleared a massive volume of barges set out on the canal at once.

The administration said they needed to be informed about the progress of the city's construction projects and the amount of materials that will be carried by the canal to organize the waterway's traffic more efficiently.

The congested 3.7-kilometer stretch of creek only has about 160 berths with a total capacity of 80,000 tons.

However, by March 13 about 400 boats carrying up to 160,000 tons and thousands of crew were stuck along the Huajiang Road section of Suzhou Creek in Jiading District.

Twenty-six of the 33 docks along this stretch of the creek reported complete paralysis early last week due to overcrowding. Fully loaded ships couldn't dock while empty ones couldn't move out of the way. Meanwhile, more than 15 ships carrying about 1,200 tons of household waste also got stuck in the jams.

The maritime watchdog made all efforts to ease the crisis day and night and in the meantime provided food and water and other daily necessities to the stranded crew.

The stretch of the creek was finally cleared on Saturday evening. Freight cargos temporarily held in nearby sections of Suzhou Creek were released yesterday and the waterway's traffic flow was back to normal yesterday evening.

Traffic started shooting up on the creek at the beginning of this month, the maritime authority said.

A number of ships had already been stuck for nearly 10 days by Friday because of slow traffic.


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