It is believed that the plan will allow Nantong to better use its unique river and marine resources and further prompt regional industrial and urban integrated development. It will also enhance Nantong's role in serving national and regional development plans.
Gu Shuying, head of the Party working committee of the Tongzhou Bay demonstration zone, said the new tasks assigned by the provincial government raised new requirements for Tongzhou Bay. The regional authority will take its responsibilities to be a main force to support Nantong's development.
In 2019, construction of port, infrastructure facilities and key projects will be the key task of the Tongzhou Bay demonstration zone, according to Gu. She said that building a seaport capable of serving vessels with a tonnage of 200,000 to 300,000 is essential for Tongzhou Bay to become a main force to support development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt.
Tongzhou Bay will also promote construction of a steel production facility with annual production capacity of 30 million tons of premium steel. Railway network, river channel and expressway construction plans will also be carried out in 2019.
Qidong innovation hub
Qidong, a county-level city under the administration of Nantong, will also seize opportunities that emerge from the Yangtze River Delta region integration to support Nantong's development, according to Wang Xiaobin, Party chief of Qidong.
The city is home to Qidong life and health technology city, which has a planned area of 132 square kilometers.
The industrial city will focus on developing three industries - life science, high-end pharmaceuticals and health services. The industrial area, intended as a platform for research and development, comprehensive industrial services, healthcare and green production, will become a hub for innovation, health industries and leisure, according to Nantong government.
In November, Shanghai teamed up with seven neighboring cities in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, including Nantong, to work together to optimize the use of space in each city and construct a coordinated pattern to promote integration.
As a beneficiary of this integration plan, Nantong has made huge investment to link itself with Shanghai through railways, water channels, highways and flight routes, and aims to upgrade itself into a national transportation hub. It has launched a series of transportation network construction and upgrading plans, including a Nanjing-Ningbo Expressway expansion project and a Wuxi-Nantong Expressway construction project.
On Feb 14, Nantong announced that 313 urban and traffic projects with overall investment of 119.71 billion yuan will be launched in upcoming years. The new airport project, Tongzhou Bay seaport and a new channel on the Yangtze River to connect Nantong and Zhangjiagang city will be the key projects.
"Nantong is still a small and medium-sized city in China," said Lu Zhipeng, Party chief of Nantong. "We will focus on building Nantong into a large pivot city in the Yangtze River Delta region and Shanghai's northern gate to enhance its service capacity."
In recent years, local government has also paid increasing attention to environmental protection.
Nantong is making an all-out effort to protect Yangtze River's ecological system and banned largescale projects along the Yangtze River, as required by the central government. A total of 53 illegal wharfs along its 166-kilometer river line were removed to support Chongming Island, administrated by Shanghai and Qidong, to become a world-class ecological island.
Since 2016, Nantong has initiated a series of ecological projects such as the Wushan National Forest Park. The city will host the China Forest Tourism Festival in 2019.
Sun Lixin, director of Nantong's ecological and environmental protection bureau, said Nantong has reported breakthroughs in curbing environmental problems in recent years. The average concentration of PM 2.5 in the city was 41 micrograms per cubic meter in 2018, the lowest among cities in Jiangsu province. The number of blue sky days, which means the air quality is rated as excellent or good, accounted for 79.7 percent of the whole year, the highest among its peers in Jiangsu province in 2018.
Looking ahead, local government will insist on supporting the real economy and settle a batch of important projects in the city. It will continue to optimize its business environment and cultivate more leading companies and high-growth enterprises with strong potential. It will build more industrial clusters and promote industrial upgrades.
Residents will also see better education, healthcare and elderly care services in 2019. Targeted poverty alleviation, major risk prevention in key sectors and pollution prevention and management will continue to be key tasks of Nantong this year, according to local government.
Nantong is making an all-out effort to promote environmental protection along the Yangtze River.
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