China Pledges to Modernize Maritime Industry
 
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China Pledges to Modernize Maritime Industry

      8/22/2000

China is proposing to revamp its maritime sector by ridding its fleet of obsolete vessels and improving terminals. It will accelerate development of container shipping, liquefied natural gas ships and roll-on, roll-off vessels to promote modernization and specialization of the sector, said Minister of Communications Huang Zhendong.

China has 6,000-plus shipping companies and 80,000 private shipping operators, with fleets totaling 260,000 vessels, official figures show. Nearly 80% of bulk carriers and over 80% of oil tankers are not equipped for modern business, Huang told a seminar. In addition, inland freighters wasted energy and cut-throat competition among inland shipping firms has brought low efficiency, he said.

Huang said China has over 260,000 civilian transport ships along the coast and inland, 30% more than demand warrants. In addition, a large number of berths operate at medium to low capacity. "A shortage of container terminals is obvious," he said. The ministry said it will build new ports and renovate old ones so as to upgrade capacity and efficiency. Three ports will be reconstructed and renovated in the south, north and east, and an international shipping center be formed with more berths covering Shanghai and the neighboring provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu. The ministry also will draft new shipping management regulations, with more stringent provisions governing the age and technical level of ships. Insurance requirements will be tightened, the ministry said.

Obsolete ships, including wooden and propeller-driven ones, will be replaced gradually by advanced vessels with greater capacity.


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