Free Trade Zones

Busy container ports herald China’s robust foreign trade


BEIJING – China’s container shipping industry has seen steady growth this year amid headwinds from the COVID-19 pandemic and container shortages, indicating the strength of foreign trade and the country’s economic resilience.

Cargo throughput at Chinese ports totaled 12.87 billion metric tons in the first 10 months, up 7.8% year-on-year. During the period, container throughput reached 235 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), up 8.4% from the previous year.

As domestic ports teem with containers, China’s foreign trade in the first 11 months jumped 22% year-on-year to 35.39 trillion yuan (about $ 5.56 trillion), the data shows. customs.

The figure, which already exceeds the total of 32.16 trillion yuan for the whole of 2020, marks a 24% increase from the level before the 2019 pandemic.

The effective epidemic prevention and control measures adopted by the Chinese government have significantly helped stabilize industrial chains, increasing overseas shipping orders from Chinese companies.

Welcoming the successful implementation of China’s epidemic prevention strategy, Chairman of Chinese shipping giant China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited (COSCO Shipping) Wan Min said the company has processed about 22.45 million TEUs of containers in the first 10 months, accounting for the following year annual growth of 5.7%.

“China’s powerful epidemic containment efforts and the rapid resumption of work and production have accelerated the growth in demand for freight transportation and raised hope for global shipping companies,” said Liu Wen, deputy general manager of the Shanghai branch of Pacific International, based in Singapore. Lines (PTE) Ltd.

Most of the company’s vessels have been sent to operate in the Chinese market, Liu added.

When the container shortage hampered China’s container shipping industry, government bodies and businesses adopted multiple measures to boost supply and keep goods moving smoothly.

As part of coordinated government actions led by the Ministry of Transport, shipping giant COSCO Shipping returned 13,469 empty containers to national ports in March, quenching the country’s thirst for containers.

The supply of new containers was also boosted by the acceleration of production by container manufacturers. In September, the monthly container production capacity in China rose from 200,000 TEU to a record 500,000 TEU, according to official data.

The constant introduction of favorable policies has also propelled the growth of China’s foreign trade. The business environment has been optimized through a series of reform measures, including the facilitation of cross-border trade and the promotion of trade and investment in the pilot free trade zones.

This not only boosted the confidence of market players, but also helped to further strengthen China’s openness, said Bai Ming, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce. .

In the country’s southern island province, Hainan, a hub for maritime transport and international trade is taking shape in the port of Yangpu, with favorable measures targeted on investment, administrative approvals and financial support for small and micro- companies attracting more and more foreign trade companies to the region.

“The favorable policies of the Hainan Free Trade Port, especially the value-added transformation policy first implemented in the Yangpu Free Trade Port area, provided us with incredible business opportunities,” said Zhang Hui, general manager of an international food company.