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Cash for ports to increase capacity
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-03-11 06:48

The central government will pour huge amounts of cash into ports to improve handling capacity and allow it to keep up with rising demand.

That was the promise of a senior transportation official in an exclusive interview with China Daily on Friday during the annual session of the National People's Congress, the top legislature.

Three clusters of ports will take shape in the next five years, in Bohai Bay, the Yangtze River Delta, and the Pearl River Delta. The aim is to improve trading capacity and make the Chinese coast home to some of the world's largest trading ports.

Qian Yongchang, chairman of China Communications and Transportation Association, said China has boasted the world's largest cargo throughput since 2004, and Shanghai is the world's largest port in handling tonnage.

But handling capacity still needs to catch up with rising demand, said the former minister of communications. So, the nation will increase cargo handling capacity on the Chinese mainland from 3.8 billion tons in 2005 to 5 billion tons in 2010.

According to the Ministry of Communications, during the same period, the total throughput of containers, measured in TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), will increase from 74.41 million in 2005 to 130 million in 2010.

The country already owns 10 of the world's 25 largest sea ports.

Qian said almost all of the major coastal ports are expected to undergo expansion in the next few years. But the port development programme will focus on the transportation of containers and on raw materials like metal ore, coal, and crude oil.

Shanghai will serve as the pillar of East China's port cluster around the Yangtze River Delta, while Dalian, Tianjin and Qingdao will form the three most important hubs around Bohai Bay in North China.

Hong Kong, the world's second largest container terminal after Singapore, is not counted as part of the trading capacity of the Chinese mainland. But it is set to become the centre of China's southern port cluster with back-up from Guangzhou and Shenzhen, the world's fourth-largest container port.
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