China Plans Two New Port Regions To Serve Energy Needs

China plans two new "port clusters" in addition to three existing ones, partly in order to serve its voracious energy needs, state media said May 8. One of the two port regions will be in southeast China's Fujian province, opposite Taiwan, while the other will be in the southern provinces of Hainan and Guangdong, close to major shipping routes.

"China's sea ports and their relative easy access to containers and industrial materials had been a major factor in transforming the nation's economy," said Communications Minister Li Shenglin.

China is emerging as a major power in cargo transport, with Shanghai being the world's largest port in handling tonnage and 10 out of the world's 25 largest sea ports located in the country.

The Fujian cluster will include the port of Zhangzhou, which is to serve as a destination for imports of crude oil and natural gas. In the other cluster, the ports of Zhanjiang and Haikou will facilitate imports of crude oil and natural gas, while others will be designed for imports of mineral resources. The three existing clusters are located in around Shanghai in the east, the city of Tianjin in the north, and the city of Shenzhen in the south.

China's ocean cargo handling capacity is forecast to rise from 3.8 billion tons in 2005 to 5 billion tons in 2010. In the same period, its coastal throughput of containers, as measured in TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit), will grow from 74.41 million to 130 million TEU.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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