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Shanghai to hasten expansion of deep water port at Yangshan, official tells shipping conference

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Zhang Xiaohong, a Shanghai vice mayor, told the North Bund Summit, a shipping industry conference, on Friday that new port facilities under construction will gain international prominence and effectively buoy China’s trade with foreign partners.

“Construction [of terminals] at the northern side of Xiao Yangshan has gone into full swing,” he said. “When they are complete, the waterway from Yangtze River to the ocean can be better utilised to bolster Shanghai’s status as the world’s shipping hub.”

Zhang was referring to the 51.3 billion yuan (US$7 billion) harbour project that will eventually handle 11.3 million 20-foot-equivalent units (teus), nearly a quarter of Shanghai’s total container throughput last year.

Construction of the deep water port began in 2002 following China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, a watershed event that resulted in thriving trade emanating from the Yangtze River Delta around Shanghai.

Shanghai International Port Group, the state-owned operator of terminals in the city, announced last September that it would start building the new terminals the following month.

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Zhang’s remarks on Friday are also being viewed as a message from the Shanghai municipality that the pace of expansion work will be stepped up.

“The shipping industry supports manufacturing businesses and facilitates exports and imports,” said Xiong Hao, ­assistant general manager at Shanghai Jump International Shipping. “The Shanghai government believes that a strong shipping industry is a solid foundation for a recovery in trade in the future. It also believes investment [in infrastructure] will eventually pay off.”

Analysts said Zhang was also addressing investor concerns about overcapacity at Shanghai’s container handling facilities, at a time when exports and imports are on the decline due to Beijing’s souring relationship with the US.

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China’s exports dropped for a fourth consecutive month in August, falling by 8.8 per cent year on year to US$284.9 billion, according to customs data. The decline, however, ­narrowed from a fall of 14.5 per cent in July, and was better than a forecast of a drop of 9.5 per cent by financial data provider Wind.

But local officials are unfazed and remain confident about boosting trade between Chinese and foreign companies.

“A cyclical nature makes it difficult for shipping firms to make big and sustainable profits,” said Liu Yue, vice-president of Shanghai Shipping Exchange. “We are doing our best to help carriers, shipbuilders and cargo owners ward off risks so that they can grow on a healthy track.”

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In August, the Shanghai Futures Exchange started trading the Containerized Freight Index Futures compiled by the shipping exchange, creating a hedging tool for shippers, freight forwarders and cargo owners amid sluggish trade and volatile ocean freight rates.

Shanghai’s ports reported a total container throughput of 47.3 million teus in 2022, with mainland China’s commercial and financial hub retaining the title of the world’s largest port for a 13th consecutive year.
Yangshan port is linked to the Lingang free-trade zone by the 32km Donghai Bridge. It handled 24 million teus last year.

Article was originally published from here

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