An additional investment of over 800 billion yuan is needed to achieve the target of 13,000 kilometers of high-speed railways by 2012, Ministry of Railways Chief Economist Yu Bangli said on July 28.
The total operational length of China's high-speed railways is expected to exceed 16,000 kilometers by 2020, he said.
In the first half of this year, the investment in railway projects reached 271.4 billion yuan, 33 percent of the entire year's planned investments. To reach the target of 823.5 billion yuan of investments this year, 552.1 billion yuan of investments are still needed in the second half, with an average of 92 billion yuan per month and 3 billion yuan per day, according to statistical data.
Currently, China has 6,920 kilometers of operating high-speed railways, and more than 10,000 kilometers are under construction. There are about 1,000 high-speed trains running on a total of 11 high-speed railway lines in China with an average train occupancy rate of nearly 102 percent, maintaining a thriving passenger flow, according to the Ministry of Railways.
Li Jun, an official with the Ministry of Railways, said that the Shanghai-Nanjing high-speed railway has transported a total of more than 4.5 million passengers since it opened on July 1, and transported an average of 168,000 passengers each day with an average train occupancy rate of nearly 122 percent, close to the occupancy rate of the old Shanghai-Nanjing railway, which is 124 percent.
The length of China's operational railways will exceed 110,000 kilometers by 2012 and 120,000 kilometers by 2020. Furthermore, the length of newly-constructed high-speed railways will reach 13,000 kilometers by 2012 and more than 16,000 kilometers by 2020.
In a recent report released by China Minsheng Bank, the proportion of debt financing in railway construction has increased from about 49 percent in 2005 to over 70 percent in 2009. The asset-to-liability ratio of the Ministry of Railways was over 55 percent by 2009 and is estimated to exceed 70 percent in 2012.