China Port Development: Northeastern province expands ports to boost trade and connectivity
Shipping is a lifeline of global trade, and ports play an important role in regional development. Liaoning province in the northeast of China is counting on its long coastline to drive new business amid sluggish growth. And the port city of Dalian is expanding its role as a major center for trade and transportation to northeastern Asia and Europe. Our reporter Feng Yilei has more.
Dalian was one of China's first coastal cities to open up to the outside world. It's the largest port in Liaoning province and most of the region's foreign trade flows through it.
With trade links to more than 300 ports in over 160 countries and regions, it's now planning to further expand connectivity in the new economic landscape.
XIA TING, BUSINESS DEPT. MANAGER DALIAN PORT CONTAINER DEVELOPMENT, LIAONING PORT GROUP "We positioned ourselves as the international shipping center of Northeast Asia, and we will continue to attract goods from southeastern Chinese coastal cities to Dalian, focus on the burgeoning Russian market, and develop South Korean and Japanese markets."
Efforts include enhancing interconnection through sea-to-rail freight services under the Belt and Road Initiative.
Over the past five years, China has opened several freight train routes connecting Dalian Port to European cities. And cargo transport capacity has grown by over 70 percent a year on average for the last five years.
Goods shipped to Dalian port are unloaded here and transferred onto trains bound for Europe.
FENG YILEI DALIAN "Sea routes combined with railway transportation will further cut costs and transportation time. These fully loaded containers leaving the Port of Dalian will arrive in Moscow in just one third the time that traditional waterways take."
And that's not all. The authority has also been pushing forward port-to-port integration.
Earlier this year, Liaoning Province created a new company to run its major ports, including Dalian, with the state-owned China Merchants Port Holdings taking over a controlling stake.
The unified operation platform has brought new opportunities to Liaoning's Yingkou Port, the biggest domestic trade container hub port in Northeast China and also an important transit port for 'Belt and Road' China-Europe sea-rail transportation.
LI YANG, DEPUTY GENERAL MANAGER YINGKOU PORT CONTAINER TERMINAL "A transportation system in northeast China has been established, which turns competition into cooperation. That will boost our efficiency by improving overall services. We have the same goal within the Belt and Road Initiative."
With more ports expected to join the group, Liaoning plans to further expand its links and strengthen contacts with its trading partners. And industry in the region will continue to benefit from its rich port resources.
Angang Steel is one of the largest steel makers in China. It has opened a branch in Yingkou to chase after the new market trends.
WANG JUN, MANAGER ANGANG STEEL BAYUQUAN BRANCH "Logistics is the edge. Here at our Yingkou base, mines and raw materials are all imported. We need to transport steel plates for vessels and bridges, which are too big for railway or highway transportation. Now we can go straight up to the docks and send them all over the globe."
Liaoning is also developing a Pilot Free Trade Zone to attract more foreign companies and more investment. It also inevitably relies on the province's continuing modernization and expansion of its ports.
And the companies that ran different terminals have merged into one. Its reforms like this that have made Dalian a national role model.
ZHANG HONGGUANG, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE DALIAN AREA OF CHINA (LIAONING) PILOT FREE TRADE ZONE "Through a series of institutional reforms and innovation, we aim to make Dalian a new highland for the revitalization of northeast Asia's old industrial base and a new engine for opening-up and cooperation."
Managers in Liaoning's port areas say their future development path will closely follow China's current economic transition- from quantity to quality, from being production-driven to consumption-driven, from export-oriented to a balance between imports and exports. And they are confident these efforts will pay off. Feng Yilei, CGTN, Dalian, Liaoning province.