Marine econo to port city’s s
What are the first things that come to mind when a Chinese person is asked about Zhanjiang?
One might mention its famed seafood or that it was one of the first 14 Chinese cities opened to foreign investment in 1984.
But perhaps it is best known as the first major port designed and built by the Chinese after the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949.
“It opened in 1956, with a 10,000ton capacity,” said Zhang Yi, president of the Zhanjiang Port Group.
“They even filmed a 25-minute documentary when the first international boat, one from Poland, arrived after it had just opened.”
Nearly seven decades later, the Port of Zhanjiang came a long way, with its total throughput reaching 171 million tons last year.
“More than 60 percent of the port’s business relies on international trade,” Zhang said.
Zhang has set his sights higher, expressing confidence that annual throughput can surpass 300 million tons by the end of 2013.
The port will get a further boost when the Sino-Kuwaiti petrochemical complex and the iron and steel project of Baosteel Zhanjiang Iron and Steel Co both go into operation in 2015.
The petrochemical complex is designed to process 15 million tons of crude oil, while the iron and steel project is expected to produce 10 million tons of high-end steel products every year, bringing more bulk business to the port.
Zhang’s confidence also derives from the city’s renewed commitment to developing its maritime economy.
“It is significantly good news to us,” he said.
At a time when the impact of weak international trade weighs heavily on Zhanjiang, Zhang said he hopes to turn the port into “a major distribution center” like the ports in Guangzhou and Shanghai.
“We aim to be one of the top 10 ports in China by 2016,” he said.
With 20,000 square kilometers of sea area and more than 2,000 kilometers of coastline, Zhanjiang is the third-largest maritime economy in Guangdong province.
It has traditionally served as an important trading center for aquatic products as well as a base for processing and exporting to the AsiaPacific region.
At a time when the whole country is attaching unprecedented importance to the sea, Zhanjiang is also giving new support not just to fishing, but also for a wider range of marine-related sectors.
When asked to characterize Zhanjiang in a few words, Wang