Transportation is the lifeblood of the modern economy. Ships, trucks, and the infrastructure that support them are the cells that carry the oxygen of trade goods through the body of the modern, global, economy. Without efficient systems of global movement and transport, society stops.
Trade and transport would be an overbearing theme throughout our time in Lianyungang.
Primarily, we had come to Lianyungang to see the opening of the New Eurasia Landbridge. The New Eurasia Landbridge is essentially a modified, modernised, and expanded version of the ancient silk road. It is a series of roads and transport routes that run from Lianyungang, a port city in the far east of China, through central and western China, and then into and through Kazakhstan at China's border.
China's centre and west have lagged behind economically in comparison to the coastal, trade-dominated areas of the east and south. Improving transport throughout China will be an important precondition if China's west is going to catch up with its east in development.
To mark the Eurasia Bridge project, a convoy of trucks would drive from Lianyungang to Urumqi, passing through historic cities such as Luoyang, Zhengzhou, and Xi'an in the process.
We left from our hotel, and arrived to see a large cluster of trucks, and a crowd of people in front of a stage. The people were all representatives of the different transport companies present, split into regimented, uniformed groups according to their company.
We listened to the representatives of transport companies and government departments give speeches from the stage about the project and their involvement.
After the speeches had finished, we eventually heard the rumble of diesel engines as the trucks rode off on their journey.
We moved on to the port of Lianyungang. Huliking metal titans loaded shipping containers onto ships, forming shapes that would continue into the mist. Stacks of shipping containers dwarfed us.
As one sign pointed out, this was point zero of the Eurasian Landbridge--the very start.
We were shown the layout of the area by Mr. Zhang, the director of the port, who talked to us about his hopes for the port city, and about the plans to expand the area.
Our last port of call was related to transport on a smaller scale.
First, we saw the passenger ferry, which could take passengers as far as South Korea.
Finally, we saw the expansion of public transport within the city of Lianyungang, as we were given a tour of the recently expanded bus system. The ground in Lianyungang is not suitable for creating subways, so a system was adopted to make buses more efficient. This involves the creation of sleek new bus stations that promote order, as well as a dedicated lane in the main highway that goes through Lianyungang. Buses were monitored at the offices we visited.