A total of 873,800 vessels carrying 12.23 million passengers and 1.46 billion tonnes of cargo passed through the ship lock at the Three Gorges Dam over the past 17 years, data from the China Three Gorges Corporation showed.
The operation of the ship lock remained safe, stable and efficient, with the annual freight volume repeatedly reaching new heights, the company said.
In 2011, the two-way freight volume exceeded 100 million tonnes. Since then, its one-way freight volume has exceeded 60 million tonnes for seven consecutive years and reached a maximum of 81 million tonnes in 2018, which has promoted the rapid development of the shipping industry along the Yangtze River.
In 2019, 146 million tonnes of cargo were transported through the ship lock, 8.1 times the annual maximum of 18 million tonnes before the Three Gorges reservoir was impounded.
The Three Gorges project is a multi-functional water control system, consisting of a 2,309-meter-long and 185-meter-high dam, a five-tier ship lock on the north and south, and 34 turbo-generators with a combined generating capacity of 22.5 million kilowatts. The designed throughput capacity of the ship lock is estimated to reach 100 million tonnes by 2030.