The coordinated development of port and city



Professor Dr. Zhen Hong, Secretary-General and Zhao Nan, Deputy Director of port research, Shanghai International Shipping Institute, Shanghai Maritime University, Shanghai, China



Since the ground breaking development of Yangshan Deepwater Port, Shanghai Port has been the world’s busiest container port for four consecutive years. Along with the leap forward in the development of Shanghai Port, Shanghai International Shipping Centre has also witnessed constant progress in the maturity of its shipping services and allocation of shipping resources. In particular, since the establishment of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, Shanghai is stepping up its opening-up efforts in shipping centre construction. Shanghai Port has made headway in fostering well-coordinated and mutually beneficial development with the city.

Shanghai’s spectacular port development

Shanghai is a major hub port located at the Yangtze River Delta-front estuary, which is in the centre of China’s mainland coast. The port is well situated at the junction of east-west Yangtze River shipping routes and north-south coastal shipping routes. Shanghai has witnessed rapid development because of its ideal location and abundant coastal resources over the past decade, with cargo throughput soaring 17 percent from 316 million tonnes in 2003 to 776 million tonnes in 2013, highlighted by the explosive growth in throughput of cargo for foreign trade (23 percent) and for containers (27 percent). Shanghai was ranked number one in the world for seven consecutive years from 2005 to 2011 in terms of cargo throughput, and has been the top port in terms of container throughput since it surpassed Singapore in 2010. The eastbound shift of the economic and shipping centre has also triggered a spurt in China’s market share of container throughput. For example, Shanghai had a 5.3 percent market share of the world’s container handling volume in 2012, outperforming Singapore (5.1 percent) and Hong Kong (3.7 percent). Given the migration of China’s coastal sectors and the restructuring of local industries, the cargo structure of Shanghai is expected to go through a new round of adjustments, with container throughput set to increase its market share even further. What’s more, the structure of Shanghai Port’s collection, distribution and transport will also improve. As a preferable mode to alleviate the impacts on road traffic and to achieve sustainability growth, the development of a robust inland waterway transportation network will be a core focus of future port planning in China. In this sense, Shanghai will play a major role in facilitating this transformation. The continued development of the port and the success of its related industrial sectors have contributed substantially to Shanghai’s economy and urban development. After Yangshan Deepwater Port Area was put into largescale operation, the capacity of Shanghai Port grew significantly in addition to a maturing port environment. Given the migration of economic centres to East China and the rapid development of China’s imports and exports, Shanghai Port witnessed soaring throughputs and diverse port functions. This was characterised by burgeoning port logistics, simplified processing and efficient cargo handling. The economies of scale and expanding industrial cluster of Shanghai Port attracted a wealth of shipping and related businesses to the city. In 2010, Shanghai Port and its related industries made an aggregate contribution of RMB 354.945 billion or 20.68 percent to Shanghai’s GDP. Nearly 40 percent of this total came directly from the port and the remaining 60 percent was attributable to the indirect benefits of port-related economic activities and induced value added. Furthermore, port-related employment amounted to 2,337,956, in 2010, accounting for as much as 21.43 percent of Shanghai’s workforce.

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