Shang­hai on the go

Dig­i­tal ship­ping, other ser­vices send city to trans­port fore

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHONG­NAN in Shang­hai zhong­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The de­vel­op­ment of dig­i­tal­ized ship­ping ser­vices, eco­nomic ini­tia­tives and Pi­lot Free Trade Zone will push Shang­hai to the sta­tus of an in­ter­na­tional ship­ping cen­ter by 2020.

It will thus com­pete with other es­tab­lished ri­vals like Sin­ga­pore and Tokyo in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, said of­fi­cials.

The cen­tral gov­ern­ment in 2009 set a tar­get of de­vel­op­ing Shang­hai as an in­ter­na­tional ship­ping cen­ter in 2020.

The city will be al­lo­cated ship­ping re­sources on a global scale. This will help send goods from in and around Shang­hai to many more des­ti­na­tions us­ing ship­ping ser­vices. Soon, Shang­hai will likely emerge as a key lo­gis­ti­cal part of the world’s sup­ply chain.

Zhen Hong, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Ship­ping In­sti­tute, said trade via ship­ping ser­vices will help the fi­nance in­te­gra­tion of in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy and dig­i­tal so­lu­tions into the in­dus­try. Shang­hai’s share of high value-added ship­ping ser­vices will rise, thanks to the de­vel­op­ment the Yangtze River Eco­nomic Belt and the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road.

Shang­hai cur­rently ranks sixth among the world’s top ship­ping cen­ters like New York, Lon­don and Dubai, ac­cord­ing to the Xin­hua-Baltic Ex­change In­ter­na­tional Ship­ping Cen­ter De­vel­op­ment In­dex.

Its con­tainer through­put con­tin­ued to rank first in the world, ris­ing to 36.54 mil­lion twenty-foot equiv­a­lent units, or TEUs, in 2015, while in­ter--

na­tional con­tainer trans­fers were up at 2.53 mil­lion TEUs.

“How­ever, we are aware there are many dif­fi­cul­ties that need to be over­come,” said Zhen.

He said space at the port is scarce for fu­ture de­vel­op­ment, struc­tural con­tra­dic­tions are ob­vi­ous, while col­lec­tion and dis­patch sys­tems need fur­ther op­ti­miza­tion.

Be­sides, the high­ways-rail­ways ra­tio is skewed with high­ways ex­ces­sively large com­pared to rail­ways, which could af­fect the city’s abil­ity to reach its goal by 2020.

“As a ship­ping ser­vices clus­ter, Shang­hai to­day is mainly fo­cused on sup­port­ing Chi­nese shipown­ers and those who char­ter ves­sels. It has a suc­cess­ful mix of home­grown busi­nesses and a grow­ing num­ber of in­ter­na­tional firms tht have re­gional of­fices in the city,” said Jeremy Penn, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Lon­don-based Baltic Ex­change.

The next big step for Shang­hai is to es­tab­lish a com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment that at­tracts the head of­fices of global com­pa­nies, and pro­vide a stan­dard of ser­vice that is com­pa­ra­ble with the more es­tab­lished mar­itime clus­ter hubs of Lon­don, Sin­ga­pore and New York.

There are cur­rently nearly 1,700 in­ter­na­tional marine trans­port and re­lated busi­ness units in Shang­hai. The world’s nine clas­si­fi­ca­tion so­ci­eties have all opened branches in the city.

REUTERS

A man rides a ve­hi­cle past con­tainer boxes at a port in Shang­hai, China, on Feb 17, 2016.

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