An aerial view of the G40 Shanghai-Xi'an expressway's Taizhou section in Jiangsu province. The project is being built by China Railway 24th Bureau Group Corp. (CHINA DAILY)
Builders may see surge in orders for new infrastructure as provinces lift investment scale
China's relentless pursuit of infrastructure development has borne more fruit in the first half, with key construction companies reporting remarkable growth in new contracts.
China Railway Group Ltd (CREC) and China Railway Construction Corp (CRCC) — both listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange — announced half-year figures in their reports filed with the bourse last week in which both companies logged higher contract values in the reporting period, reflecting the nation's ongoing efforts to bolster its infrastructure.
During the first six months, CREC recorded a substantial increase, securing new contracts valued at 1.27 trillion yuan ($177.24 billion), reflecting a significant 5.1 percent year-on-year growth.
Domestic contracts amounted to 1.19 trillion yuan, recording the same growth rate of 5.1 percent, while overseas projects reached 84.36 billion yuan, showing a faster growth rate of 5.7 percent. The surge in sectors such as engineering construction, real estate and resource utilization contributed to the impressive overall growth both domestically and overseas.
Likewise, during the first six months, CRCC won new contracts totaling 1.36 trillion yuan, representing a modest year-on-year increase of 2.09 percent. Notably, domestic projects accounted for 1.28 trillion yuan, witnessing a robust growth rate of 4.29 percent, while overseas projects stood at some 82.7 billion yuan. Rapid expansion in sectors like engineering construction, real estate development and emerging industries contributed to the overall growth.
Shares of CREC closed 0.25 percent lower on Wednesday at 8.11 yuan and those of CRCC edged down 0.1 percent to close at 10.49 yuan.
"Infrastructure investment maintained stable growth in the first half, playing an effective role in shoring up the economy. Since June, the project progress and commencement rates tracked by market observers have increased on both a yearly and monthly basis, after staying relatively flat in April and May," Luo Huanjie, senior researcher at the Zhixin Investment Research Institute, was quoted as saying by Economic Information Daily, adding that in the latter half of the year, major projects in various places will witness faster commencement and construction progress.
According to a Sinolink Securities report, with major provinces revealing a bigger investment scale in key projects, infrastructure orders will be relatively large this year and the pace of follow-up orders for construction may also accelerate.
Investment in the transportation sector has remained high in the first six months. From January to June, investment in transportation fixed assets was 1.83 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 9.1 percent, Li Chuanguang, deputy director of the general planning department of the Ministry of Transport, said at a news conference on Monday in Beijing.
Investment in railway and highway projects reached 304.9 billion yuan and 1.38 trillion yuan, up 6.9 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively, Li added.
"The ministry will further enhance the national transportation network, ramp up efforts in the construction of major projects and offer more support to this end, to help expand domestic demand and stabilize the nation's economy," Li said.
Significant progress was achieved in the building of the Fuyang-Huaibei High-speed Railway, as the pile installation method to be applied to the whole railway project passed evaluation last week.
The evaluation was conducted on a test field of Lixin Station in Bozhou, Anhui province. Spanning 200 meters, construction workers of China Railway 24th Bureau Group Corp reinforced the subgrade foundation using cement fly-ash gravel (CFG) piles.
Innovative construction processes were employed, such as the use of soil formwork techniques for optimizing cap construction, the CRCC unit said in a construction progress report.
"The pile quality management system is based on the Beidou positioning system, which monitors the pile position, length and extraction speed in real-time, providing instant feedback to operators, technicians and supervisors," said the project manager with CR24, who declined to be named.
Designed primarily for regional inter-city connectivity, the Fuyang-Huaibei High-speed Railway accommodates broader network functionality, serving as a rapid passenger transportation artery connecting the northern Anhui urban cluster with the Yangtze River Delta region. Stretching through Fuyang, Bozhou, Suzhou, and Huaibei in the province, the railway's main line covers a distance of 142.5 kilometers, with a designed speed of 350 kilometers per hour.
The nation's expressway network also witnessed faster progress, as the expansion project of the G40 Shanghai-Xi'an expressway's Taizhou section nears completion.
Also an undertaking by CR24, the section recently saw its final segment of the right lane of the second bridge of the Jishi Bridge in Taizhou, Jiangsu province, successfully installed, laying a solid foundation for its planned opening at the end of August.
"With the full installation of all bridge segments, the next step will be the road surface construction," said Sun Jingtian, Party secretary of the project team.
The second bridge spans in an east-west direction and features two lanes on each side, with a total length of 1.13 km. Upon completion, the original conduit will be expanded from a two-lane, four-way road to an eight-lane dual-carriageway.
"The expansion of the G40 expressway section not only connects various cities and regions in the Yangtze River Delta but also serves as a critical part of the long-term integrated development plan for the region," Sun said.