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2nd cross Strait direct sea route opens

The second cross Strait direct sea route between Xiamen in Chinese mainlands Fujian Province and Taiwans Jinmen County opened on Sunday, cutting travel time from 80 minutes to 25 minutes.

In total, 236 tourists departed Jinmens Shuitou port, only 9.7 nautical miles from Xiamens newly-built Wutong port, at noon.

Eight ships from two Taiwan companies and two Xiamen companies are operating on the route. The ships leave at noon and 2 p.m. from Xiamen daily.

Jinmen would invest 10.9 billion new Taiwan dollars (about 345.4 million U.S. dollars) to build three new ports to cater for the increasing number of tourists, said Ni Zhentu, a Jinmen port official, at the opening ceremony.

The first Xiamen-Jinmen route between Heping port and Shuitou port had transported more than 2.44 million passengers since beginning operation in January 2001.

(Xinhua News Agency September 1, 2008)