08 March 2013

An urban, industrial cruise

Pudong with the Shanghai Tower under construction.

Last weekend, taking advantage of the sunny weather, I hopped into a cruise departing from the Shiliupu ferry terminal (south Bund), reaching the meeting point of the Huangpu and Yangzi River (Wusong Kou) and coming back. A total of 3,5 hours. This cruise is by no means a classic one: in fact, it features the world's busiest port and Asia's longest river.

The route is highlighted in red.
Cranes to load and unload cargos.
Yangpu Bridge.

After passing by the familiar profiles of Pudong's towers, the banks of the Huangpu present a typical skyline of residential and office buildings for a few kilometers. But as one reaches the impressive structure of the Yangpu Bridge (the only bridge you encounter - there are five underground tunnels though), the landscape is exclusively constituted by cranes, ships, containers, arranged in a linear port. Shanghai's Harbor is split into two parts, the recent Yangshan deep water port and the Huangpu River port. Together they form the world's busiest port since 2010.

An industrial landscape.
Please don't eat that fish...
A relic of old Shanghai?

When our boat reached the meeting point of the Huangpu and Yangzi River it gently turned around to come back to the Bund, offering a glimpse of the many ships transiting. Though not a beautiful cruise in the usual sense of the word, it gave a hint about China's import-export scale. The river is still very much used as a crucial piece of infrastructure, but, with the rising importance of the deep water port, it could slowly be reconverted into a more natural and appealing environment.

At Wusong Kou.
The Yangzi River at last.

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