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April 26, 2010

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Passengers will benefit from better convenience

CLOSER and more convenient, the long awaited Wusong International Cruise Ship Terminal in Baoshan District is expected to attract more overseas cruise liners and visitors and boost Shanghai's plan to become a shipping center by 2020.

More than 180,000 cruise passengers and 124 cruise ships, both local and international, visited ports in Shanghai last year.

However, about 20 percent of cruise ships now have to dock at the mouth of the Yangtze River because they're too big to fit under bridges spanning the Huangpu River, forcing tourists to spend up to four hours on buses getting into the city and back to their ships even though they may only have a 12-hour stopover.

The new terminal is closer to town and passengers will spend half as much time getting downtown.

Visitors to downtown can take expressways or three nearby subways, Metro lines 1, 3 and 7. It takes about 15 minutes to get to the subway lines from the port by car.

More cruise ships are expected to stop in the city during the 184-day World Expo. It is expected that 232 passenger liners, an 87 percent rise from last year, carrying a record 250,000 tourists will visit the city this year.

Only 150,000 tourists visited the city by cruise ship in 2008.

The State Council, or the Cabinet, has called on the city to boost the development of its cruise ship industry.

It said Shanghai should regulate its cruise industry and encourage overseas cruise companies to launch routes to the city.

Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal was the city's first for cruise ships. It opened on the North Bund in Hongkou District in 2008.

According to the city's blueprint for the shipping industry, the new Wusong terminal will complement Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal as is can handle bigger ships.

Baoshan's shipping business has long been limited to ferry services to nearby Chongming, Changxing and Hengsha islands.

A channel has been deepened at the mouth of the Yangtze River to allow larger vessels to dock at Shanghai ports. The project was completed last month.

The channel, north to the Jiuduansha Wetland, is considered the key to the city's shipping business as well as a lifeline for inland ports.

The channel now allows an average of 12 vessels weighing more than 50,000 tons to pass per day. Before, only vessels weighing less than 15,000 tons could navigate the channel.


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