At the first China-ASEAN Port senior official meeting held in Guilin, the ports along Beibu Gulf serving as cooperation frontier become the focus of attention among the senior officials and experts.
“With the further construction of the passage to sea for Southwest China and the frequent trading between China and ASEAN countries, the ports group along Beibu Gulf is playing more important role in China-ASEAN ports cooperation,” said Ju Chengzhi, director of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Communications and Transportation at the meeting.
Beibu Gulf is located where the coast of China and Pan Beibu Gulf sea area overlap, surrounded by Leizhou Peninsula, Hainan Island and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China and Vietnam. There are Zhanjiang Port in Guangdong, Haikou Port in Hainan, Da Nang Port in Vietnam, Beihai Port, Qinzhou Port and Fangcheng Port in Guangxi along the gulf.
“This region is at the junction of sea and land transport between China and ASEAN and it has great potential in future China-ASEAN ports cooperation,” said a representative from the Philippines at the meeting.
In recent years, the ports along Beibu Gulf have been developing fast. At present, there are 371 operative berths with the port handling capacity of 200 million tons in Hainan, Guangxi and Guangdong. The ports group in Beibu Gulf is developing into a large scale key ports group mainly for bulk cargo throughput and container transport. In December, 2007, Fangchenggang Port in Guangxi opened up international container lines from South China to Vietnam, through Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Fangcheng and Haiphong Ports. It is the first time for the ports in Guangxi to cooperate with ports in ASEAN countries for shipping business. At present, there are several direct international container lines from Guangxi to Vietnam. They cooperate in transshipment and combined shipping business between the ports and stay leading in China-ASEAN ports cooperation. Huang Huakuan, director of Guangxi Department of Communications said at the meeting that the three ports in Guangxi Beibu Gulf, namely, Fangcheng, Qinzhou and Beihai are speeding up to work with Haiphone, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh Ports in Vietnam. New shipping lines will be opened up between the ports and the shared infrastructure such as ports, docks and storehouses will be built. In the next five years, Guangxi will invest 300 billion yuan in building a comprehensive land, sea and air transport network to further enhance the cooperation with Vietnam, the Philippines and other ASEAN countries. Huang Huakuan said that the establishment of the comprehensive transport network will further promote the regional economic cooperation between China and ASEAN. At the same time, it will bring better opportunities for the development of the ports group in Beibu Gulf and the ports cooperation between China and ASEAN.