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Shenzhen Becomes World's 4th Busiest Port
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Shenzhen handled a record number of containers in 2005, keeping its ranking as the world's fourth-busiest port, after rising trade increased cargo shipments through the southern Chinese city.

Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, China Merchants Holdings (International) Co and other operators of the port handled 16.2 million standard 20-foot boxes last year, a 19 percent increase, said Zhou Tianlin, director of Shenzhen's port bureau.

China's exports, which rose 28 percent last year, are boosting the amount of goods shipped through Shanghai, Shenzhen and the nation's other ports. Shenzhen has also been taking a bigger share of southern China's cargo traffic from neighboring Hong Kong because of lower costs.

Growth in Shenzhen's 2005 cargo traffic was faster than Hong Kong, where volume rose 2 percent. Moving a 20-foot box by truck from a factory in southern China to Shenzhen and shipping it there costs an average US$333 less than shipping from Hong Kong, according to a study commissioned by the Hong Kong government.

Hong Kong lost out to Singapore as the world's busiest container port last year, the first time since 1999. Shanghai remained the world's No 3 harbor in terms of container volume.

Hong Kong's government is proposing to cut fees for vessels calling at the city's terminals and reduce charges for ships anchored in its harbor in moves to win back business from other southern Chinese ports.

Shenzhen moved 1.4 million 20-foot boxes in December. Bloomberg News derived the figure by subtracting the January-November volume from the full-year number.

Investors in Shenzhen are expanding to take advantage of rising volume. Hong Kong-based Hutchison, the world's biggest port operator, and its Chinese partner plan to add six berths at Yantian by 2010, bringing the total to 15.

China Merchants, a state-controlled port manager, said on January 6 it will increase its investment in a container terminal in Shenzhen's Mawan.

The company also plans to pay its parent company HK$2.07 billion (US$265 million) for land at Shekou to expand its cargo business

(China Daily January 24, 2006)

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