China's port cities are expected to undergo another round of enlargement in the coming years to further integrate the country into the global economy, Qian Yongchang, chairman of the China Communications and Transportation Association, said yesterday.
Qian said the central government has already approved enlargement plans submitted by the coastal cities of Guangzhou, Ningbo, Shanghai, Qingdao, Dalian and Shenzhen.
The central government also agreed on the enlargement plan of Tianjin's new coastal area, he said.
"The new plans will not only focus on boosting capacity of cargo transportation, but also improving industrial and manufacturing strengths in the regions," said Qian, former minister of communications.
Qian's announcement was verified by China's new industrial layout blueprint, which has been drafted by the country's highest economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission.
The new layout plan requires factories whose raw materials are imported to be located near the port cities, an official with the commission said.
He said the layout will be included in the 11th Five-year National Economic and Social Development Guideline (2006-10), which is expected to be discussed at the annual session of the National People's Congress in March.
To further improve development of China's coastal economic belt, the State Council Development Research Center and Tianjin municipal government will organize an international forum on April 18-19.
"Development of multinationals and lifting of trade barriers will continue to promote China's economic development in coastal regions," said Qian.
Since China started to open its 14 coastal cities in 1980s, the cargo transportation volume in 10 cities has already surpassed 100 million tons annually. There are only about 25 port cities with such capacity in the world.
Qian also said Shanghai became the world's largest port city in cargo transportation in 2005 when its cargo volume reached 443 million tons.
And in container transportation, Shanghai and Shenzhen have become the world's third and fourth largest ports following Singapore and Hong Kong.
(China Daily January 19, 2006)