Shipping industry of China
In 1961 China established a state-run maritime shipping company and subsequently signed shipping agreements with many countries, laying the foundation for developing the country's ocean transport. That organization developed into the present-day China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO). The Chinese government also invested heavily in water transport infrastructure, constructing new ports and rebuilding and enlarging older facilities.
The governmental responsibility of the shipping industry is under the Ministry of Transport.
The number of container units handled by Chinese ports in 2011 reached more than 150 million. The country also manufactures 90% of the world's containers.
The throughput of cargo and containers at China's ports has been the largest in the world for the past five years, with an annual growth rate of 35%.
The first overseas container reached China in September 1973 at Tianjin Port, which later set up the country's first container berth in 1980.
The 1990s saw rapid growth in the container transportation industry, and in 2002 China overtook the United States to become the world's top handler of containers.
In 2006, the country handled 5.6 billion tons of cargo and 93 million TEUs (20-foot container equivalent units). Twelve ports recorded cargo throughput of more than 100 million tons, with the Port of Shanghai handling 530 million tons, making it the world's busiest port.
Containers have further connected China's middle and western regions to the global market, under a ports distribution strategy combining coastal areas and inner rivers.
China's 8,700-mile- (14,000-km-) long coastline is indented by 100 large and small bays and has 20 deepwater harbours, most of which are ice-free throughout the year.
Coastal shipping is divided into two principal navigation zones, the northern and southern marine districts.
The northern district extends north from Xiamen to the North Korean border, with Shanghai as its administrative centre. The southern district extends south from Xiamen to the Vietnamese border, with Guangzhou as the administrative center.
Shanghai, the leading port of China from the early 19th century, was eclipsed by Hong Kong when the latter was reincorporated into the country in 1997.
Yangtze River Hu-Yu Route
On June 23, 2007, renovations on the section of the Yangtze River between Luzhou and Chongqing, also known as the Hu-Yu Sea Route, have been completed. This completion of the renovations means that ships over a thousand tons can now arrive in Luzhou.
Before the renovations, the Hu-Yu Sea Route was unable to take advantage of the overall development being enjoyed by the Sichuan economy. In October 2005 renovations started with a total investment of 120 million yuan (US$15.7 million). After two years of work, the Hu-Yu Route has been significantly enhanced: the channel has a depth of 2.7 meters and a width of 50 meters. The result is that vessels as large as 3000 tons can navigate the Hu-Yu Sea Route day and night.
Greek firms have managed to capture the immense expansion of South East Asia and particularly Europe. It is largely the dry bulk shipping firms that have benefited the most from the development since iron ore and coal are the two major resources that are required for a country's infrastructure to be taken to the next level. Since the beginning of the new millennium, China has provided lucrative contracts both on the spot, and time charter market for dry bulk shippers. As a result, many new shipping tycoons were created.
Ports and canals
- COSCO (China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company); China COSCO; COSCO Pacific; COSCO (Hong Kong) Group; COSCO International Holdings
- China International Marine Containers
- China Shipping Container Lines
- China Shipping Development
- China Shipping Group
- China Merchants Energy Shipping
- China Merchants Holdings (International)
- Sinotrans (Sinotrans Shipping)
- The China Navigation Company
- Orient Overseas Container Line
- Nan Fung Group
- Parakou Shipping
- Asian Times Online Chinese shipping aims for global leadership
- China Ships The World Forbes Special Report.
- Theroux, P., Sailing through China (Michael Russell, 1983)