Trading has been suspended for Zhejiang-based Ningbo Port in preparation for the proposed merger with Zhoushan Port, according to China Daily.
Ningbo-Zhoushan Port is now the busiest cargo port in the world, with a combined throughput tonnage of more than 850 million tonnes.
Chen Yingming, Executive Vice-President of Shanghai-based China Port and Harbors' Association, said: “This move can be seen as a precursor to Zhejiang's focus on developing its maritime economy.
“The government has been moving quickly on plans to reform its giant.”
The ports involved in the new scheme are Ningbo, Zhoushan, Jiaxing, Taizhou and Wenzhou.
Dong Liwan, Professor of Shipping Infrastructure at Shanghai Maritime University, said: “The explosions at Tianjin Port last month also pushed both central and local governments to review the growth potential, safety conditions and crisis response capability of the country's ports, as well as try to enhance their earning ability, particularly as China's foreign trade continues to slow this year.”
The Tianjin blast killed a total of 159 people, with the cause of the accident suspected to be as a result of negligence of safety regulations at the port, despite workers allegedly having prior knowledge that the site was deemed unsafe to house hazardous materials.