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Rate-reporting rule on horizon

By Xin Dingding in Nantong, Jiangsu and Wang Ying in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2013-07-12 00:10

Rate-reporting rule on horizon

A China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co container ship is seen in Nantong, Jiangsu province. The country's transport authorities are planning measures to help the struggling shipping industry. XU PEIQIN / FOR CHINA DAILY

Transport authorities take measures to help struggling shipping industry

China's transport authorities are mulling new measures to give the ailing shipping industry a shot in the arm and prevent foreign industrial giants from creating unfair competition in the nation.

A policy under consideration is to ask shipping companies to report their shipping rates to the Shanghai Shipping Exchange, in order to maintain a stable market, said Song Dexing director of the water transport department under the Ministry of Transport.

Song spoke on the sidelines of an event marking Maritime Day of China 2013, which fell on Thursday.

Currently, shipping companies must report a range of rates, a measure the ministry adopted a few years back to keep shippers from slashing rates to compete for business, he said.

The new policy will ask for the exact rates being offered. Companies can update their rates frequently, but every change will be subject to market supervision, he said.

"If a company is suspected by other players to have slashed or raised rates maliciously when the market is volatile, we can launch an investigation against it to find out if there is unfair competition. I believe the shipping companies will act more cautiously when changing rates," he said.

The new system will be helpful if "super" shipping leagues attempt to stage unfair competition in China, he added.

"Industrial giants sometimes lower rates to nudge out smaller players, so that they can charge more in the future once they control the say in setting rates.

"This measure partly aims to prevent such unfair competition," he said, adding there have been "bloody lessons from the past".

The ministry is also considering other policies, including restructuring shipping capacity, setting up a special capital fund for phasing out old ships and cutting taxes for shipping lines, he said.

The measures come as the country's shipping industry keeps trying to get itself out of a slump that has persisted since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Though some foreign shipping giants have gradually recovered, domestic shipping companies have continued to struggle, Song said.

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