Shanghai retained a clear lead at the top of the league table for China’s top 20 container ports in 2013, according to the end of year figures released by the Shanghai Shipping Exchange.
Benefitting in the final quarter from the opening of two way traffic on Yangshan’s main channel and the easing of cabotage restrictions and foreign-ownership laws at the new China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, box throughput at Shanghai rose 3.3 percent in 2013 to a record 33.6 million TEUs.
As well as taking top place in China, Shanghai also again led the global container port rankings ahead of Singapore, with the latter handling 32.6 million TEUs last year, a gain of 2.9 percent compared to a year earlier.
The second largest container port in China in 2013 was Shenzhen, with 23.3 million TEUs after seeing growth of 1.5 percent. The south China port was followed by Ningbo-Zhoushan with 17.3 million TEUs, Guangzhou (15.3 million TEUs) and Qingdao (15.5 million TEUs).
Reflecting the ongoing restructuring of the Chinese economy and weaker export markets, five of the top six fastest growing box ports in China last year were located in north or central China, far away from traditional manufacturing centers in the south.
Leading the way in terms of year-on-year growth last year was Dalian (24.2 percent), Xiamen (11.2 percent), Lianyungang (9.3 percent), Ningbo-Zhoushan (7.3 percent and Qingdao (7.1 percent) and Tianjin (7.1 percent).
Despite the significant growth reported at many of its ports, China’s economic growth remained slower than for much of the last decade in 2013 at an estimated 7.7 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. GDP growth in the fourth quarter was 7.7 percent, marginally slower than the 7.8 percent gain recorded in the third quarter.
Nomura said the value of China’s exports increased 7.9 percent last year compared to 2012, while imports were up 7.3 percent over the same period.
China’s retail sales, meanwhile, grew 13.7 percent year-on-year in 2013, while industrial production expanded 9.7 percent.