China adds over 100 new container shipping routes

Cars for export are loaded onto a roll-on/roll-off ship at Lianyungang Port, East China's Jiangsu Province, on November 18, 2022. From January to October, Lianyungang Port exported 174,000 vehicles, up 30 percent year-on-year.  Photo: IC

Cars for export are loaded onto a roll-on/roll-off ship at Lianyungang Port, East China’s Jiangsu Province, on November 18, 2022. From January to October, Lianyungang Port exported 174,000 vehicles, up 30 percent year-on-year. Photo: IC

China’s major sea ports are opening up more than 100 new container shipping routes this year, providing solid support for the stability of supply chains as well as bolstering China’s foreign trade.

Buoyed by favorable factors, the country’s imports and exports may grow 6 percent in 2022 and is projected to hit a record high next year, an industry insider said on Sunday.

Recently, a cargo vessel carrying 1,000 standard containers that departed from the port of Panjang, Indonesia docked at the Dalian port in Northeast China’s Liaoning Province, marking the opening of the fourth route between Dalian and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) countries, state broadcaster CCTV reported on Saturday.

With annual shipping volume of above 500,000 tons, the shipping link will help boost exports of chemical and machinery products in Northeast China and imports of minerals and tropical fruits.

In addition, the Safeen Power just departed from Qingdao port in East China’s Shandong Province to head for Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. Shandong added a new Middle East container route under the Belt and Road Initiative, according to the local government.

Major coastal Chinese ports have reportedly added more than 100 container routes this year, reflecting Chinese exporters’ confidence in the long-term growth of the country’s foreign trade.

Despite recent volatility of the US dollar, soaring global commodity prices and sporadic COVID-19 resurgences, China’s exports maintained double-digit growth of 13 percent to reach 19.71 trillion yuan ($2.78 trillion) between January and October.

Among countries that have released foreign trade data for the first nine months, the contribution of China to the global trade ranks the first, said Liang Ming, director of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation’s Institute of International Trade, a Ministry of Commerce -affiliated think tank.

Liang said China’s top standing will likely remain for the rest of 2022.

Since October, some Chinese trade companies have actively gone overseas, seeking for more orders. For instance, South China’s Guangdong Province has organized several groups of local companies to take part in exhibitions in countries including Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore to pursue more orders, local media outlet sznews.com reported.

Chinese foreign trade companies expressed stronger confidence and maintained higher expectations regarding trade prospects for the entire year, according to a survey conducted by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade in September.

Some 30.31 percent of the firms surveyed during the third quarter said they expected to achieve year-on-year positive growth in annual trade volume, up 4.09 percentage points from the second quarter.

Chen Lixiu, a handbag exporter in Yiwu, East China’s Zhejiang Province, told the Global Times on Sunday that her company’s total exports are expected to rise by 5-10 percent this year amid rising overseas demand. She mainly exports to countries including India, Brazil and Egypt, and she said new orders that will fill about five containers are in production.

“Given China’s rebounding domestic economy, resilient industrial and supply chains, and secure logistics due to the comprehensive anti-COVID-19 measures, the country will continue to play a leading role in global commerce,” Cao Heping, an economist at Peking University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Liang forecast that China’s total trade will grow by around 6 percent year-on-year to reach $6.4 trillion in 2022, while exports alone may grow by about 8 percent year-on-year.

“Despite a slowdown in the global economy and declining demand overseas in 2023, I believe the country’s foreign trade will continue its path of stable development with improved quality,” he told the Global Times on Sunday.

He urged the implementation of policies to promote foreign trade, such as improving the whitelist mechanism, summarizing experience for enhancing customs service management, and organizing business charter flights to help ensure production and delivery.

In the coming months, the authorities should step up efforts to help trade companies stabilize their orders and open up new markets, with flexible measures including organizing online and on-site exhibitions and encouraging them to seek more business opportunities overseas, according to Liang.

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