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Ningbo-Zhoushan Port sees growing trade

The Ningbo-Zhoushan Port in east China's Zhejiang Province is the world’s largest port in terms of annual throughput, and it lies where the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road intersect. It shows how China’s Belt and Road Initiative has improved port infrastructure and increased trade along the routes.

In the past five years, the port has seen rapid development. Over a hundred vessels call at the Ningbo-Zhoushan Port on a daily basis. The cargo throughput was only 0.8 billion tonnes in 2013 but it hit one billion tonnes last year with the promotion of the Belt and Road Initiative. It's the first port in the world to exceed such volume.

The record-setting throughput came with an expansion and upgrade of the port; improvements that aim to make it even more competitive along the Belt and Road. The port managing company says the upgrades include an improved transfer capacity, new channels, more docks and enhanced technologies.

To better connect the Belt and Road, the port has launched sea-rail transport services, reaching more inland provinces and countries. It has also deepened cooperation with major shipping companies and harbors, adding over 10 routes along the Belt and Road, and raising annual voyages to nearly 5,000.

Cargos pile up at Ningbo-Zhoushan Port. /CGTN Photo 

Port performance can be seen as an indicator of foreign trade. At Ningbo Shipping Exchange, the latest index released on port logistics reflects trends of trade development within China and Belt and Road countries. Dong Shanhua, general manager of Ningbo Shipping Exchange said that the Maritime Silk Road Index has risen steadily in the past five years.

China's trade and economic exchanges with countries along the maritime silk road have improved. The proportion of trade with these countries has also increased by about 1.44 percent. And their index, in turn, provides a transparent and efficient environment for more companies to participate in foreign trade under the Initiative.

Meishan Free Trade Zone's roll-on roll-off dock for vehicle transport /CGTN Photo

The government is designing more policies to further stimulate the potential of the Ningbo-Zhoushan Port. Officials hope the port capacity will ultimately help forge a wider trade-oriented economy. To better serve as a pivot point for the Belt and Road economy, managers at Ningbo-Zhoushan Port constantly develop support facilities and services for businesses in and outside China.

For example, Meishan Free Trade Zone, within the greater port area has the province's first roll-on roll-off mechanism to import and export finished vehicles. Bonded warehousing and efficient customs clearance make it easier for imported cars to reach Chinese customers. Domestic companies also enjoy wider accesses to the global market. In early August, over 800 Chinese Geely cars were shipped to several nations along the routes, with more expected in the future.

A Shanghai-based medical instrument manufacturer said they had moved here in 2015 considering regional advantage and beneficial policies. Local government organizes cooperation forum annually to introduce them international partners and help them promote our products in Belt and Road countries.

Authorities say Ningbo-Zhoushan Port intends to attract more businesses. By 2022, the port is slated to handle over 1.2 billion tonnes of cargo per year, and should provide first-class shipping services and trade platforms.