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Shenzhen port impacted by industry shift to interior

1 February 2012
Shenzhen’s status as a major international port is increasingly dependent on container railway services to central China, where many industrial plants have relocated from Guangdong province and other coastal locations, according to an article in South China Morning Post.

“China’s industry is changing and factories are shifting inland,” said Ma Yongzhi, deputy director-general of Shenzhen Port Administration. “Our port must cater to this.”

The shift of factories from Guangdong to the interior contributed to Shenzhen being the mainland’s worst performing major port last year, said the story. Container throughput rose only 0.27 per cent to 22.57m TEU, according to the Shenzhen Ports Association. By contrast, Shanghai’s container throughput increased 9.2 per cent to 31.74m TEU.

Mr Ma said Shenzhen port was aggressively building rail links to the interior to transport containerised cargo. It currently has 15 container rail connections to cities such as Chongqing and Kunming. This year it will open two new container rail lines, one to Xian, capital of Shaanxi province, and the other to Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province.

Last year, Chongqing recorded the biggest increase in international trade in China − a 140 per cent rise to US$29.2bn, according to the municipal government. Overall, the country’s international trade rose 22.5 per cent.

Willy Lin Sun-mo, chairman of the Hong Kong Shippers’ Council, said Shenzhen’s container rail business is now challenged by a direct rail link between Chongqing and Europe that has been operating for the past year.

Mr Lin said it took 14 days to transport cargo by rail to Europe from Chongqing compared with 21 days to move freight from Chongqing to Shenzhen and then ship it to Europe. He added that the cost of transporting cargo by the all-rail option was roughly one-third the combined cost of the land-ocean route.

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