2 more runways being built at Pudong airport
The city is building a fourth and fifth runway at Pudong International Airport as Shanghai plans to be a major gateway to Asia-Pacific destinations.
Both runways are expected to be finished before 2015, said Wang Xiaohong, an official with the Shanghai Airport Technology Center, which was set up yesterday to provide technology support on airport design, planning and construction in the future.
The new runways will be initially used for the testing of China's jumbo jets, which will be assembled in Shanghai.
The world's biggest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380, landed at Pudong airport on April 20. The airport handles more than 40 million passengers a year, with volume expected to double by 2015.
A third terminal may be built to handle the rising number of air travelers. The city's two airports have five runways.
Meanwhile, the Shanghai Airport Authority signed a contract with the East China Civil Aviation Administration Bureau to jointly supervise construction and management of a new airport in Yiwu City, Zhejiang Province. --(4/30)
Auto show drives to roaring success
A record 715,000 visitors attended the 14th Shanghai International Automobile Exhibition which ended yesterday, according to the organizers.
The eight-day show, also known as Auto Shanghai 2011 and held at the Shanghai New International Expo Center, attracted 2,000 auto makers and car-components manufacturers from more than 20 countries and regions. More than 1,100 vehicles were on display. Of the 75 models making their global debut, 19 were by international auto giants with the remainder unveiled by Chinese auto makers.
An official of Shanghai International Exhibition Co said the biennial auto show showcased the rapid development of China's auto industry.
With the theme of "Innovation for Tomorrow," car makers unveiled aggressive plans to promote new-energy vehicles and those with latest green technologies, ranging from hybrid to pure electric or hydrogen-powered fuel cell. A record 86 new energy-efficient models were displayed at the show.
Five limited edition Aston Martin One-77 sports cars, with the cheapest costing 38.8 million yuan (US$5.9 million), were booked. --(4/29)
Government takes steps to ease cabbage crisis
Local government is buying cabbage from local growers to ease their losses from falling prices due to oversupply, a problem also occurring elsewhere in the nation.
The city's agricultural authority said yesterday it is also arranging food manufacturers to buy more cabbage to produce pickles along with other measures. It will even allow temporary vegetable stands on roadsides, a rare move, to sell cabbage, officials said
While mobile vegetable stands have often been blamed for tax evasion and operating without licenses by watchdogs, officials said they decided to make an exception given the urgent need to help vegetable farmers. The cabbage stands will only be temporary, officials said.
In the next few days, residents may expect to see a number of authorized mobile cabbage stands on some downtown streets. In response to the government call, an agricultural company based in suburban Qingpu District dispatched more than 10 vehicles to purchase cabbage from growers and has been given authorization to set up roadside stands.
Food manufacturers, canteens and other operations capable of storing fresh food in bulk have been encouraged by the government to increase purchases now to help ease the cabbage crisis.
Such operations in Jinshan and Fengxian districts have since bought about 2,000 tons of cabbage more than usual, agricultural officials said. Such companies will likely be rewarded with incentives at a later date for offering a helping hand.
Suppliers are also buying more cabbage to produce processed vegetable products such as pickled cabbage and salads, officials said.
Authorities also made business more convenient inside vegetable wholesale markets.
Some farmers in the city had already started destroying unharvested cabbage to curb losses. Due to low prices, farmers said harvesting and transporting the cabbage would create bigger losses than destroying them. --(4/28)
Higher costs slow industrial profit growth
China's industrial companies reported slower growth of profit in March as rising production costs continued to erode their net income.
Their profit expanded 32 percent year-on-year to 1.06 trillion yuan (US$162.5 billion) in the first quarter, slower than the pace of 34.3 percent between January and February, the National Bureau of Statistics said today.
"Higher prices of raw materials are blamed for less profit growth in the past months," said Li Maoyu, an analyst at the Changjiang Securities Co. "Also, China plans to accelerate its economic restructuring and promote green development. That will cost the profit of some manufacturers in the future."
Raw materials such as crude oil, coal and cotton are traded at higher prices on the global market. As a result, China's Producer Price Index, the factory-gate gauge of inflation, climbed 7.3 percent from a year earlier in March, while the reading for the first quarter stood at a steady 7.1 percent. --(4/27)
Summer power shortage warning
Shanghai residents face the prospect of power shortages this summer as the city's supply cannot keep pace with soaring demand, the energy supplier warned yesterday.
Demand is predicted to reach 28.5 million kilowatts during peak hours ¡ª up 7 percent on last year. Factories closed and construction projects halted during the World Expo last year have since resumed operations, contributing to demand.
"There could be power shortages," the Shanghai Electric Power Co said in a statement yesterday.
The current capacity of the city is only 18.7 million kilowatts, the company said.
With the support of the National Grid, 8.9 million kilowatts has been promised from Anhui, Fujian, Sichuan and Hubei provinces and Chongqing. Shanghai can afford a 27.6 million kilowatt power load, leaving a possible 0.9 million kilowatt shortfall. --(4/26)
China cracks down on food additives
The Chinese government has ordered food companies to keep clear and intact records of all their production and selling operations as part of the efforts to prevent the illegal use of food additives.
All food manufacturing and management companies must examine all products in stock for any trace of illegal food additives and keep records of the results in accordance with laws and regulations, according to a circular released by the food safety committee under the State Council yesterday.
The circular came days after Vice Premier Li Keqiang warned of the great harm from illegal additives in food, promising "a firm attitude, iron-hand measures and more efforts" in dealing with the problem.
Companies that fail to keep genuine records and documents will be ordered to reform, and those providing fake records and certificates will have their operations suspended and be punished accordingly, said the circular.
The circular said it was strictly forbidden to produce and sell non-edible materials that are likely to be used in food production without official certificates, and authorized production companies of these materials must adopt a real-name selling system.
These materials, including those banned in animal feed and drinking water, should not be sold to food and feed companies, the circular added.
A series of food safety scandals has emerged in China recently.
In one of the latest cases, steamed buns in Shanghai were reported to have been dyed, sold past their expiry dates, or laced with coloring additives to mislead consumers.
And yesterday, it was reported that nearly 20 premises were found producing fake sweet potato glass noodles using illegal additives which even included Chinese ink.
The Guangzhou Daily in Guangdong Province said that local authorities had launched inspections of all producers of glass noodles as a result.
A large amount of corn flour and unlabeled buckets of black liquid which workers were unable to name was found at the workshops, the newspaper said.
The crackdown at the workshops in Dongguan City came after 5,000 kilograms of dyed sweet potato glass noodles were discovered at a factory in Guangdong's Zhongshan City last Friday.
Sweet potato glass noodles, used in suanlafen and malatang, two popular Sichuan dishes, are dark in color but transparent and should be made with sweet potato flour.
The Guangdong factories chose cheaper corn flour and, to create the color, added Chinese ink, paraffin wax, light green dye and other chemicals, all additives which are banned, the report said. --(4/25)
Ticket sales may be limited
Organizers will set up a roped-off area and may even suspend ticket sales to cope with anticipated large crowds at the Auto Shanghai 2011 show this weekend.
The Shanghai New International Expo Center was again packed with people yesterday as soon as doors opened at 9am, making it difficult to get a good look at the cars.
The queue was more than 500 meters for the hall exhibiting luxury cars by noon as visitors were eager to see the latest Ferrari and Lamborghini models.
Ticket sales will be limited if necessary today and tomorrow, said Liang Yingliang, the project director of the organizers. Visitors can not use weekend tickets to visit on a weekday, according to the show's hotline.
The organizers expected up to 160,000 visitors today.
Three temporary parking lots will be open at 378 Yanggao Road S., Shanghai Science and Technology Museum and Yuanshen Sports Center Stadium to ease traffic pressure on Longyang Road where the exhibition venue is located. Regular shuttle buses will be available between parking lots and the exhibition center.
Forty free shuttle buses will take visitors leaving the exhibition center to the Shiji Avenue subway station at 4:30pm. The Metro operator said crowd control measures will be put in place if needed at the Huamu Road Station on Metro Line 7. --(4/23)
Seafood in markets free of radiation
Seafood in Shanghai is now free of radiation leaked from the crippled nuclear power plant in Japan as most of the aquatic products available now come from offshore fishing.
But the situation may change when a new deep sea fishing season starts next month, fisheries experts said yesterday at the 9th Asian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum held at Shanghai Ocean University.
"Pacific saury and squid, which are caught from waters near Japan and Russia, might have been affected," said Jin Xianshi, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences.
"The two aquatic products currently sold here are safe because they were caught last year," he said.
"But they should be tested for radiation with the arrival of the new fishing season," he added.
Domestic fisheries authorities have not decided whether to start the north Pacific fishing boats, which usually sail in May, experts disclosed.
Currently, Japan's Fisheries Agency has only found high levels of radioactive contaminants in one species, the sand eel, said Hisashi Kurokura, professor of the Department of Global Agriculture Sciences at the University of Tokyo.
"It's still safe to eat the fish because the radioactive contaminants found in the eel is only twice the safe level," he said.
"The danger level is 100 times higher than the safe level," he said.
"One would need to eat 1 kilogram of the eel for three meals a day for a year to become sick," he said.
Each country has different regulations about food safety standards, but Japan's are among the strictest in the world, he said.
The radiation leak has hurt the seafood industry as many Japanese people have stopped eating fish, experts told the forum. --(4/22)
Cooler weather is on the way
The forecast calls for a cold front to reach the city either late today or tomorrow, meteorologists said yesterday.
Today will be warm with a high of 24 degrees Celsius and a low of 14 degrees. There is also a chance of a thunderstorm late today, according to the forecast. Tomorrow more rain is expected and the high will dip to 17 degrees with a low of 11 degrees, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said. The weather will heat up on the weekend with highs of 21 or 22 degrees. The bureau said it will be partly sunny over the weekend. On Monday, the high temperature is expected to reach 25 degrees, forecasters said. The bureau said big temperature fluctuations are common at this time of year and that people should always have a sweater or jacket with them in case it gets cold at night. --(4/21)
Smoke alert disrupts metro services
Line 9 Metro services were suspended for about 20 minutes yesterday after a fire alert at Xujiahui Station. Passengers on a train and others waiting on the platform were evacuated after smoke was spotted.
Metro officials said a machine had caught fire in an area under construction to link the station to Line 11.
The fire was quickly extinguished but not before smoke had spread to the main station and an alarm had been raised. The incident happened about an hour before evening rush hour. --(4/20)
Waigaoqiao's deep-water channel opens
Shanghai's Waigaoqiao Port started operations of a deep-water channel yesterday as the city moves ahead to build itself into an international shipping center, port authorities said.
The channel, linking the city's busiest port to the main navigation channel at the mouth of the Yangtze River, has been dredged to a depth of 12.5 meters from 10 meters previously.
"It will be a great help as the city beefs up its shipping resources to accommodate ships which are getting bigger as well as meet an increase in cargo volume," said Chen Xuyuan, board chairman of Shanghai International Port Co, the operator.
With the waterway deepened, a ship can carry about 700 more standard containers on each load, according to the port operator.
The channel also ensures that fifth-generation container ships, which can carry 5,000 standard containers each, can berth at the six docks in Waigaoqiao.
Shanghai's container throughput grew an annual 8 percent to more than 2 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) per month.
The Waigaoqiao Port accounts for more than half of the city's container throughput. The port handles 90 vessels daily in the first three months of this year, double the volume in the same period last year. --(4/19)
Railway tickets to be sold via Internet
An Internet booking system for train tickets will be introduced for the high-speed Shanghai-Beijing route when it opens in June and adopted nationwide by the end of this year, the railway authority said yesterday.
"The system will be more convenient for passengers," Shen Guangzu, the head of the Ministry of Railways, told People's Daily.
Passengers can book the tickets via telephone now, but many complain they can not get seats on popular routes, especially during peak times like the Spring Festival.
Demand for train tickets is always high around the country.
The 1,318-kilometer link between Shanghai and Beijing will cut the journey time between Shanghai and the capital to less than five hours from the current 10 to 18 hours.
It will be the nation's third high-speed route following Shanghai-Nanjing and Shanghai-Hangzhou lines.
Meanwhile a real-name ticket purchasing system, which requires proven ID numbers or other legal certificates when buying a ticket, will be expanded to all bullet train services starting from June 1, Shen said.
The practice was adopted to curb ticket scalping and illegal sales through railway station employees, the authority said.
The method was first tested in Chengdu and Guangzhou during the Spring Festival rush.
Although the system proved helpful in ensuring railway security and cracking down on ticket scalping, railway stations worry that they will have to hire more employees. --(4/14)
Metro to adjust brake systems
The city's Metro operator said yesterday it plans to adjust the emergency brake system on many subway trains to prevent passengers from using it for unnecessary reasons.
Shanghai Shentong Metro Group told Shanghai Daily it wants to put an end to delays caused by commuters wrongly stopping trains between stations.
A company official said they don't have exact records of how frequently such incidents occur. However, the official added that the cases usually happen close together, perhaps because more people learn about the emergency brakes through media coverage.
Officials said passengers have pulled the emergency brake because they feel sick and want help or because their bag or clothing got caught in a train door. In some extreme cases, passengers engaged the emergency brake because they missed their stop and wanted to get off.
"Stopping trains between stations will only delay the arrival of emergency help," said Yin Wei, a Shanghai Shentong official. "It only takes a few minutes at most for a train to reach the next stop, where help will be available much faster."
Officials said the city's trains have two different designs. About half allow passengers to pull the emergency brake at any time while the others only allow it to be activated when a train hasn't completely left a station.
The trains that allow braking at any time will be adjusted, officials said. After the adjustment, pulling the emergency brake will not stop a train unless it is still along the platform, officials added.
Last month, passengers pulled the emergency brake twice in three days on Line 1, causing delays for thousands of commuters.
Metro officials have reminded passengers that the emergency brake is only to be used in a serious crisis, such as after an explosion or an earthquake.
However, the plan to restrict passenger access to emergency brakes is likely to raise safety objections from some locals. --(4/13)
TEU traffic rises 11%
Shanghai's container traffic in March rose 11 percent from a year ago to 2.64 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units).
The city also handled 40.3 million tons of dry bulk goods last month, an annual 8 percent jump, the port operator said in a statement. --(4/12)
Colder weather on way again
Some residents in Shanghai put on summer clothes yesterday when the mercury climbed to 24 degrees Celsius in the afternoon. However, the warm weather won't last, with a weak cold front arriving over the city for the next three days, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.
The high should drop several degrees to between 17 and 19 degrees by Wednesday, with a low of between 9 and 12 degrees. Weather conditions should be mostly good this week, except for some drizzle on Wednesday morning. Temperatures are expected to rise again later this week with the high exceeding 20 degrees, the bureau said. --(4/11)
Baosteel product prices cut
Baoshan Iron and Steel Co has said it will cut steel product prices for May delivery for the first time in nine months.
Baosteel will slash the prices of hot-rolled products by 200 yuan (US$30.6) a ton and of cold-rolled products by 300 yuan a ton, the country's largest publicly traded steel maker said in a statement on its website on Thursday.
Other major steel makers, including Wuhan Iron and Steel and Maanshan Iron and Steel, lowered their prices last month, and Baosteel's move may be a follow-up measure to reflect low spot price, industry insiders noted.
Prices of both of Baosteel's cold-rolled and hot-rolled products are 600 to 700 yuan more than the spot price, according to data compiled by Steelhome.cn.
Baosteel Chairman Xu Lejiang said last month that demand from auto makers may slow this year after government incentives for vehicle purchases expired.
"The capacity for cold-rolled products has been rising for the past several months, and the demand is clearly not growing as fast as supply, which explains the price cut," said Changjiang Securities analyst Liu Yuanrui.
Baosteel's shares dipped 0.1 percent to 7.24 yuan in Shanghai yesterday. --(4/9)
China reports traces
All but one of the provincial regions on the Chinese mainland detected radioactive iodine-131 yesterday, according to China's National Nuclear Emergency Coordination Committee.
Hebei Province detected both iodine-131 and caesium-134, while another 21 regions, including Shanghai, found iodine-131, caesium-137 and caesium-134 from the quake-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan.
Only Guizhou Province returned negative readings.
The committee said the levels were much lower than the natural background and there was no need for extra protection.
Food and drinking water have been tested for contamination and found to be safe, according to the committee.
Officials from Shanghai Health Bureau yesterday said the city hasn't detected radioactive material in drinking water sources or food.
This follows news that iodine-131 was found in spinach in open farmland in Beijing, Tianjin and Henan. It is believed that recent rains brought the radioactive material to earth and on to the plants.
Shanghai officials said they will tighten inspections of vegetables. --(4/8)
It's lonely at beach on Bund
The Bund's artificial beach has been an unpopular attraction since opening at the end of last summer as people complained about having to pay 20 yuan (US$3.20) for a view of the Huangpu River.
Few people visit the beach on Waima Road each day. Even on holidays, only dozens of people show up. It was closed in the winter due to few customers.
"It's not expensive, but why should I pay to look at the Huangpu River?"said Zhao Tongsheng, an office worker.
The operator, Shenjiang Investment Group, said they feared free admission would lead to overcrowding at the beach, which is the size of a large swimming pool.
The company believes business will improve with the completion of nearby recreational facilities including bars, clubs and commercial buildings and the erection of clear road signs.
The company has started cooperating with nearby restaurants so that customers can dine on the beach. --(4/7)
Record crowds view cherry blossom
Crowds in Gucun Park take advantage of the fine weather yesterday in Shanghai and the ongoing Qingming Festival to view cherry blossom. More than 100,000 visitors crowded into the park in Baoshan District to enjoy a Cherry Blossom Festival, which began last Wednesday in the city¡¯s biggest suburban park. This was the largest number of visitors in a day the park has handled since it opened. Its popularity forced Gucun Park Station on Metro Line 7 to close for 90 minutes from 4pm to restrict the number of passengers in the station. The 21-day festival features more than 10,000 cherry trees of 20 different varieties. --(4/5)
Disneyland goes ahead
The construction of Shanghai Disneyland is expected to begin on Friday, said an anonymous government official yesterday who is involved in the project.
The agreement on the project was signed last November. The new theme park will be the first Disneyland on the Chinese mainland and the fourth outside the United States, after Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
The cost for the first phase of the project is expected to amount to 24.5 billion yuan (US$3.74 billion), Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng said on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session in Beijing in early March.
Earlier reports said that 116 hectares of land has been allocated for the Disneyland project in the Pudong New Area. Two Metro lines will converge at the area. --(4/3)
Only Tibet Clear Of Radiation
All provincial areas on the Chinese mainland, apart from the Tibet Autonomous Region, detected radioactive iodine-131 in the air yesterday, China's National Nuclear Emergency Coordination Committee said.
Guizhou Province found both iodine-131 and caesium-137, while Shandong, Guangdong and Hainan found iodine-131, caesium-137 and caesium-134.
Jiangxi, Hubei, Hainan, Yunnan and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region reported radioactive substances for the first time yesterday, the committee said. --(4/2)