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Nanjing lobbies central government for Yangtze shipping centre status

11 December 2013
Nanjing is lobbying the State Commission for Development and Reform to join Shanghai, Wuhan and Chongqing as a shipping centre in the national strategy for developing the Yangtze Economic Belt, according to China Water Transport News. At a recent consultation hosted by the commission in Beijing on 5 December, Nanjing’s ambition was part of the agenda.

At the heart of Nanjing’s recent problems in this regard is its decline in developing its port and shipping. Pukou terminal, for example, handles only 5m tons of coal, compared with its annual capacity of 12m tons. Over the past decade its position as a major coal transhipment centre in the lower reaches has been usurped by Wuhu port, Anhui province. Longtan terminal, one of the earliest container terminals along the Yangtze, is facing another site move as it is now surrounded by companies and has no space to expand.

Another issue is Nanjing’s proximity to Shanghai, already designated as China’s international shipping centre. In the past, Nanjing government tried to find a new role by grouping with Zhenjiang and Yangzhou, but the two neighbours declined.

Nanjing is the only city in Jiangsu province that does not have a separate port authority. Port development and regulatory functions are carried out by the city’s transport authorities, which reflects the confusion among officials at the city government level as to how to develop the city’s economy via the port sector, insiders told the newspaper.

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