The southern section of the China Grand Canal connected the north to Yangzhou on the Yangtze river. A branch built in 608-609 that led to the Beijing region was designed to supply the armies protecting the north and northeastern frontiers. The Grand Canal greatly improved the administration and defense of China and served to increase the economic interdependence of the north and south.
This massive creation has been a huge boost to the Chinese economy, ensuring that the country will continue. Although the canal is now more than 2,000 years old, many parts of it are still being used as a water diversion conduit. With this water facility, food and other goods can be transported from the south to the north. Another huge benefit in addition to strengthening cultural connections and the local economies is that the Grand Canal has improved the defense and administration of China.
The economic importance of the canal likely will increase because the governments of the Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces plan dredging that should increase shipping capacity by 40 percent by 2012.