China port adds berths in logistics program

China port adds berths in logistics program

China's southeastern Port of Fuzhou is adding deep-water berths in a bid to become a logistics center for trade with cross-strait neighbor Taiwan.

Fuzhou, capital of Fujian province, is one of two ports designated by China to handle direct sea business with the island; the other is Xiamen, a special economic zone also in Fujian, the closest mainland point to Taiwan.

Taiwan has repeatedly said it intends to permit direct sailings, but hasn't made much progress -- in part because it wants access to larger ports such as Shanghai.

Fuzhou has two berths, one of 50,000 tons in the Jiangyin port area, and one of 30,000 tons in the Songxia district. The five or six planned new berths will be in Jiangyin, Songxia, Luoyuanwan and Changle Yangyu port areas and will range from 20,000 tons to 30,000 tons.

Fuzhou is working to combine its bonded area and a logistics site.

Xiamen is developing a southeast logistics hub with distribution centers and wholesale markets and bonded warehouses.

Officials told a recent international logistics seminar that both cities are going to offer incentives for land use, including tax breaks to those investing in the logistics sector.

Despite a required third-point stop on sailings between the mainland and Taiwan, trade is expected to exceed $50 billion this year, up 25 percent from $40 billion in 2002, according to Beijing.

An official from the Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao Department of the Ministry of Commerce said volume across the straits hit $46.6 billion in the first 10 months, up 29 percent year-on-year.

Trade volume for the 10-month period comprised $7 billion in exports from the mainland to Taiwan, up 33.5 percent; and $39.6 billion in imports from Taiwan to the mainland, up 28.7 percent. The mainland had a trade deficit of $32.55 billion.