Chinese Ports Upgrade Facilities

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Feb. 16 – China’s shipping industry is taking advantage of the government’s RMB4 trillion stimulus plans by upgrading their logistics facilities.

Despite the downturn, Chinese ports are improving infrastructure by building more dry hubs, domestic shipping lines in addition to expanding into barge, railway and road transportation.

The Shenzhen Yantian Port is building a 500,000 square meter logistics center worth RMB1.8 billion that will reportedly be the biggest in China. When construction is finished, it will be able to accommodate freight vehicles for loading and unloading goods for stockpiling.

Currently, of Yantian’s 86 shipping lines, 69 run to the United States and Europe.

China’s shipping industry has been far from immune from the global slowdown as dropping export demand closed down factories in the south and elsewhere.

“Ports in the southern part and coastal areas were more severely battered than the northern and inland regions,” Wu Yunying, a shipping analyst from Changjiang Securities told China Daily.

He said that because of the financial crisis Chinese ports cannot expect growth to resume until the second half of the year.

Statistics from the Ministry of Transport show that cargo throughput handled in Chinese ports last November was 460 million tons, an increase of just 0.5 percent year-on-year, the slowest growth in the past decade.

For the first half of 2008, Yantian’s container throughput fell 5.3 percent compared to last year’s figures. It is the first decline since the port opened 14 years ago, and its corporate assets and profit fell 2.2 and 13.8 percent year-on-year, reports China Daily.  By June 2008, Yantian Port’s share price plunged to RMB7 from a RMB19 yuan in January.

The country’s second-largest port after Hong Kong, Shanghai, also reported decreasing prices as share price dropped by as much as 190 percent between January and December 2008.

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