Ningbo Steps up to Develop First-Class International Port

Category: Ningbo District
Published: Tuesday, 24 January 2012 17:35

In 2011, the foreign trade via Ningbo Port for the first time exceeded 200 billion USD. According to the latest statistics from the Ningbo Customs, the import and export output reached $ 200.44 billion, up 24.2% over the previous year, making Ningbo a member of the “200 billion USD club" of I/E trade.

In terms of the trade volume, Ningbo Port is the seventh largest in China, only next to the ports of Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Nanjing, Qingdao and Huangpu.

Analysts believe this is an important milestone for Ningbo to pace up in building a first-class international port. It also marks the transition for Ningbo from a transportation port to a trade logistics port.

"200 billion USD of foreign trade has made great contribution to the fast yet steady economic growth of Ningbo last year", said Xu Gaochun, deputy secretary-general with Ningbo Municipal Government and director with the Port and Anti-smuggling Office of Ningbo.

Moving towards a first-class international port  

Foreign trade via port is an important indicator of a city's competitiveness. Trade goes hand in hand with logistics. The development of trade promotes the growth of cargo throughput and container transport as well as port services, making tremendous revenue.

From 2007 to 2011, import and export output rose from $ 111.8 billion to $ 200.44 billion. Apart from the negative growth in 2009 which was due to the financial crisis, the growth in rest of the years was over $ 20 billion, with $ 39.1 billion last year.

Owing to the rapid growth of foreign trade, Ningbo has consolidated its role as a large port. Last year, Ningbo Port yielded 433 million tons' cargo throughput, with 230 million tons' foreign trade cargo throughput, up by 13.26% than the previous year. Its container throughput reached 14.512 million TEU, up by 11.6, ranking among the best in the world.

Port is playing a more important role in national economy. In 2011, Ningbo Customs received 75.692 billion yuan, up by 33.22%, reaching a historical high.

Yao Chengguang, chief with Ningbo Customs said, $ 200.44 billion is the statistics of the local areas by Ningbo Customs. In fact, the cargoes outgoing and coming in via the Port of Ningbo that are declared in customs elsewhere in China is far more than that. Taking Yiwu as an example, there are thousands of container lorry going between the city and Ningbo. These goods are declared in their local customs rather than in Ningbo.

Give full play to the hinterland

At the beginning of last year, while Ningbo is speeding up to build a first-class international port, the slogan "fine port environment, high working efficiency, fast customs clearance, low overall costs and a leading role among similar ports in the country" is listed in the targets of the twelfth five year plan.

"In the final analysis, the competitiveness of a port depends on the soft environment, which means fast and convenient customs clearance and fine port resources like coastline and terminals", said Chen Guorong, vice president with Ningbo Port Co.Ltd.

As many innovative services and reforms like joint transport of container highway, sea and railway through transport, assorted clearance and express release of exports are launched, shipping tycoons worldwide are opening routes in Ningbo. At the end of last year, 236 container lines have been opened, including 126 ocean-going main lines and 58 off-shore lines. There are 1268 container liner services each month in all.

Off-site companies have a say on the overall environment of the port. In 2011, foreign trade of these companies through Ningbo Port reached $ 122.76 billion, up by 27.9%, accounting for 61.2% of the total foreign trade that time, up 1.7 point than the end of last year.

The indirect hinterland of Ningbo Port has expanded to the rest of Zhejiang Province, Anhui Province, Jiangxi Province, Hubei Province, Hunan Province, Zhejiang-Jiangxi railway, the middle and upper reaches of Yangtz River as well as southwest and northwest areas.

Foreign trade via port depends on the extent of the hinterland. In some sense, it is natural that Ningbo Port has yielded over $ 200 billion last year.

Striving for an international port

After surpassing the threshold of $ 200 billion, how can Ningbo's foreign trade enjoy a better development?

Yejian, deputy chief with Ningbo Customs, said that Ningbo should work hard in bringing more imports so as to strive a balance between import and export. For example, the import of bulk cargo like grain and crude oil as well as medicine, medical appliance, machinery and equipment should be increased.

Last year, Ningbo Port yielded import of $ 76.69 billion, up by 26% and export of $ 123.75 billion, up by 23.1%. "It is a very good beginning that the growth of import is faster than export. But it is not enough", said Xu Gaochun. It is a vital way to develop import trade vigorously if Ningbo is to build a first-class international port. Tianjin and Huangpu's foreign trade has been soaring since its auto import is allowed.

At the same time, Ningbo Port needs to transform from a port of China to a port of the world. Experts say Ningbo should learn from Singapore, the largest transit port in the Asian-Pacific region. It should also strive to improve its re-export capacity, give full play to its role as a logistics hub and take the initiative to go global in order to achieve new development in foreign trade