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Zhanjiang eyes trade growth with improved port facilities

2015-03-11 14:05:43Source:China DailyAuthor:

Cargo containers sit idle at the Port of Zhanjiang, South China's Guangdong provicne, Dec 18, 2013. [Provided to China Daily]

Zhanjiang, a coastal city in western Guangdong province, is planning to expand its port handling capacity to meet the growing trade demand between the city and countries and regions along the ancient Maritime Silk Road, a senior government official said.

"We will build the Zhanjiang port into a major international shipping center as several local industries are expected to witness a boom in exporting to countries and regions along the ancient maritime trade route," said Wang Zhongbing, mayor of Zhanjiang.

According to Wang, a 400,000 ton-grade shipping channel is under construction, and when complete, would make it one of the deepest berths in the world.

"Zhanjiang's vast coastal line and ocean area mean it has natural berths deep enough to raise the current handling of 300,000-ton vessels to 400,000-ton vessels," Wang said.

Zhanjiang has a coastal area of 2,043.5 kilometers, accounting for 35.4 percent of Guangdong's total. The city has an ocean area of 20,000 square kilometers.

The cargo throughput at the port surpassed 200 million tons in 2014. It is expected to hit 300 million tons in 2016, according to the local government.

"We have opened several cargo routes to link major markets including Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka, making the port an ideal choice for shipping goods to countries and regions along the Maritime Silk Road," Wang said.

Expansion of the port handling capacity would help enhance development of local industries, which will be featured by oil and refinery, steel and iron and paper making in the near future, said Wang.

The first blast furnace of a large steel plant on the city's Donghai Island, owned by the country's leading steel-maker Baosteel Group, is scheduled to start operations in September.

The facility will have an annual production capacity of 9.2 million tons of iron and 10 million tons of steel, focusing on the South China and Southeast Asia markets.

Moreover, a petrochemical joint venture between Sinopec and Kuwait Petroleum Corp, which includes a refinery to process 15 million tons of crude oil a year and an ethylene facility with an annual output of 800,000 tons, is under construction.

The refinery is due to start in 2016.

"Such industries will enhance economic and trade cooperation between Zhanjiang and countries and regions along the Maritime Silk Road," Wang said.

Better economic and trade links with countries and regions along the Maritime Silk Road have helped local exporters better tap the overseas markets, according to Huang Yangxu, general manager of Guangdong Guanhao High-Tech Co Ltd.

According to Huang, the company plans to increase its production capacity to satisfy the growing demand from countries and regions along the ancient trade route.

The company's export to such countries and regions reached more than $2 million in 2014, according to Huang.

"Exports will surpass $10 million this year," Huang said.

The Shanghai-listed company, which is based in Zhanjiang, produces thermal and carbonless copy papers, and sells its products to major overseas markets including the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia.