SHENYANG - China plans to make Dalian into a major harbor along the northeast coast as well as a shipping and logistics center for northeast Asia by 2020.
Under a Liaoning provincial government plan, by 2020 the harbor would move 500 million tons of cargo annually, including 20 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
"Making Dalian the shipping and logistics center of northeast Asia will facilitate the forging of a free trade zone of China, the Republic of Korea(ROK), and Japan," said Wang Jun, a professor at Dalian Maritime University.
Northeast Asia is among the world's key economic areas. Besides Dalian, the region is also has several other major port cities including Busan in the ROK and Yokohama in Japan.
"Compared with Busan and Yokohama, Dalian has fewer regular searoutes linking to other international ports." Wang said.
However, located on the east coast of the Eurasian land mass and the southern tip of the Liaodong Peninsula, Dalian stands out for its geographic advantage, convenient transportation and open economy.
As the marine gateway of northeast China, the city was among the 14 earliest cities opened to foreign investment. Utilized direct foreign investment was US$ 2.245 billion in 2006, or about a quarter of the total of northeast China.
Dalian mayor Xia Deren has proposed a free trade zone composed of China, the ROK and Japan, which covers an area of 50 square kilometers, including Dagushan Peninsula, where the Dayaowan Bonded Harbor Area, the only bonded area in northeast China, has been established.
To make Dalian a logistics center, Liaoning Province will streamline the port resources along its coast. It will also invest more in road, rail and air facilities.
By the time Dalian's shipping center status is consolidated in 2020, the port cluster in Liaoning will have an annual cargo handling capacity of one billion tons, including 35 million TEUs.