NINGBO: The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is likely to establish a
port services network in Zhejiang as the regional grouping has seen a rapid
increase in port throughputs.
The APEC's 17-member economies agree the group's ports used for the transport
of containers, oil and ore, faces problems of "uneven development among ports,
fierce competition, and lack of cooperation".
In 2005, of 18 world ports with a cargo throughput of more than 100 million
tons, 15 were located in the APEC region; and 16 of the top 20 container ports
were also located in the region.
But many of the region's countries have poorly facilitated ports, unable to
share in the boom of the industry.
"The unbalanced development pattern of ports in the region is similar to the
economic development of the region," said Weng Mengyong, vice-minister of
"There is an urgent need to improve the services and efficiency of the ports
through strengthening cooperation," he said.
President Hu Jintao proposed the setting up of the port services network at
the 14th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Hanoi last November. The proposal
received strong support.
At a recent symposium, member nations discussed and reached consensus on the
guiding principles, major functions, and the mechanism of establishing such a
Julie Nelson, deputy administrator of the United States Maritime
Administration, applauded the proposal, calling it "important" to all APEC
"The gathering of all nations in the APEC region will allow us to come to
consensus on where we are going in the future," she told China Daily.
"If we can reach consensus on the amount of trade that may occur and figure
out what the future pattern is going to be, then individual ports can prepare
their infrastructure better," she said.
Zou Bin, deputy director of the water transport department of the Ministry of
Communications, said the port service network would strengthen cooperation
between ports, in addition to providing a public information platform for
discussions and agreements.
China's port industry is the fastest growing in the world. For four
consecutive years, the cargo throughput of China's ports has been the largest in
Official statistics show the total throughput of ports in China was 5.6
billion tons last year, with Shanghai topping the list.
(China Daily 06/13/2007 page3)