Pan-Beibu Gulf members accelerate land-sea connectivity

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People attend the opening ceremony of the 11th Pan-Beibu Gulf (PBG) Economic Cooperation Forum and the 2020 Beibu Gulf International Gateway Port Cooperation Summit in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Oct. 15, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Accelerating the construction of land-sea trade corridors and international gateway ports have become the common concern at the 11th Pan-Beibu Gulf (PBG) Economic Cooperation Forum on Thursday.

The forum is held in the city of Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. It was attended by over 300 government officials, scholars, and entrepreneurs from home and abroad.

In remarks at the forum's opening ceremony, Chen Wu, chairman of the regional government, said the forum has become one of the most dynamic, inclusive, and fruitful mechanisms for regional cooperation since it was initiated in 2006.

The 15-year PBG Economic Cooperation has become a sub-regional collaboration system under the China-ASEAN framework. The PBG Economic Zone covers China's Guangxi, Guangdong, and Hainan, as well as ASEAN countries on the gulf.

The attendees were urged to accelerate the construction of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, a trade and logistics passage jointly built by western Chinese regions and ASEAN members, to foster a sustainable global supply chain.

Teo Siong Seng, executive chairman of the Singapore-based Pacific International Lines Group, suggested further promoting the integration of customs clearance, strengthening communication among logistics enterprises, and establishing more cooperation platforms.

Data from the General Administration of Customs show that China's trade with ASEAN stood at 3.38 trillion yuan (about 502 billion U.S. dollars) in the first three quarters of the year.

"With the deepening economic and trade cooperation between the ASEAN and China, the logistics and procurement needs among these countries will increase significantly, and the logistics industry will embrace new development opportunities," said Teo.

The attendees also believed the accelerated construction of the corridor contributed significantly to the port cooperation between China and ASEAN countries.

As a strategic transit location on the corridor, the Beibu Gulf Port has witnessed robust growth amid the coronavirus pandemic as its cargo throughput rose by 21.68 percent year on year to about 181.67 million tonnes, and its container throughput rose by 34.93 percent year on year to 3.51 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) in the first three quarters of the year, according to the Guangxi Beibu Gulf Port Group.

U Kyaw Myo, deputy minister of Transport and Communications of Myanmar, said the sister-port agreement between the Beibu Gulf Port and Myanmar's main maritime port, Yangon Port, has laid a solid foundation for Myanmar to participate in the construction of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor.

Liu Yongman, general manager of China Communications Construction Company Water Transportation Consultants Co., Ltd., said the construction of international gateway ports would strengthen links between supply chains and better promote China-ASEAN cooperation.

"I hope that our cooperation will steadily continue to improve maritime transportation, as well as to jointly explore new opportunities and technologies for smart port advancement," said Jurin Laksanawisit, Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister.

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