A cargo ship heading for Spain departs from Chuanshan harbor at Ningbo-Zhoushan Port on May 9. [Photo/Xinhua]
Ningbo-Zhoushan Port, a byproduct of Zhejiang province's integration of port resources, has been an international shipping hub in China and is expected to play a positive role in the building of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
In 2015, Zhejiang raised the curtain on port integration. Zhejiang Provincial Seaport Investment & Operation Group Co was established in August, and in September Ningbo Port Co and Zhoushan Port Co were merged as Ningbo-Zhoushan Port Group Co in a bid to develop the maritime economy jointly.
Now the integrated port is China's largest trans-shipment base for iron ores and crude oil, as well as a vital storage and transport base for liquid chemicals, coal and grains.
Facing the busy channels on the Pacific Ocean and relying on the Yangtze River Economic Zone, Ningbo-Zhoushan Port enjoys great advantages. Since the BRI was launched in 2013, Zhejiang has been considering various ways for the port to participate in the development of the initiative.
Officials in Ningbo and Zhoushan have always thought that the port's economic interaction with countries and regions involved in the initiative would attract new cooperation opportunities. Building a strategic pivot to serve the BRI is Ningbo-Zhoushan Port's plan to actively connect with the BRI.
So far, 235 shipping routes from the port have reached Europe, North and South America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, covering 70 percent of the BRI regions. From 2014 to 2016, the number of shipping routes linking Ningbo-Zhoushan Port and BRI countries increased from 74 to 82. Those to Southeast Asia grew from 20 to 28, involving leading countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.
The expansion of its reaches has turned Ningbo-Zhoushan Port into one of the busiest ports in the world. In 2016, with a total throughput of over 900 million tons, the port was busier than any other across the world in terms of cargo tonnage.
To better fulfil the role of a pivot for BRI, Ningbo-Zhoushan Port has been constantly seeking innovation. For example, the customs department innovated a way to refuel passing vessels. Different from the former one-to-one refueling mode, now a fuel supply ship is able to feed fuel to several vessels at the same place.
"Transport cost has been greatly reduced," said Zhang Ji, who is in charge of the fuel supplier.(Chinadaily.com.cn)