Closing in on dream of Asia shipping hub
A new vessel is launched. [China Daily]
After six years of construction and development, Dalian has made breakthroughs in becoming an international shipping center for Northeast Asia.
The city's strategy to grow from a major seaport along the northeast coast of China to an international hub for Northeast Asia was approved by the central government and is now a part of national development plan.
This strategy has also won strong support from State leaders.
Before attending the Summer Davos meeting in Dalian underway today and tomorrow, Premier Wen Jiabao paid a visit to a construction site at Dalian Port on Sept 7.
Wen said that port construction dominates development in Dalian. All projects under construction should be carefully designed and planned and become first-class in the region.
Located on the southernmost tip of the Liaoning Peninsula, Dalian faces South Korea and Japan across the Yellow Sea. It is one of the largest ports in China and is well positioned to be a shipping center for Northeast Asia.
Dalian stands out for its geographic advantage, convenient transportation and open economy. As the ocean transportation gateway to northeast China, the city was among the 14 earliest cities in China opened to foreign investment. In recent years, utilized foreign direct investment in Dalian accounts for about a quarter of the total of northeast China.
The initiative to build Dalian into an international shipping center is also part of the nation's strategy to the revitalize aging industrial bases in northeast China.
From 2003 to 2008, a total of 37.9 billion yuan of investment had been used in building and improving seaport facilities in Dalian, 7.2 times of the total investment in the previous 53 years.
In 2008, the Dalian Port saw throughput of 246 million tons of bulk cargo and 4.52 million containers, increasing two and 2.7 times respectively compared with 2002.
Air transportation is also an important part of Dalian's strategy become an international shipping center.
With steadily increasing investment in improving airport facilities, the Dalian International Airport has seen rapid growth in recent years.
Last year, the airport accommodated 8.21 million passengers and 49 international air routes, both more than twice the number of 2003.
According to the development plan from Liaoning province, Dalian Port is expected to have annual throughput of 500 million tons of bulk cargo and 20 million containers in 2020.
The Liaoning provincial government is also implementing a new program to build a coastal industrial zone focusing on five cities including Dalian.
With three major development programs - revitalizing the old industrial bases, developing a coastal economic zone and building an international shipping center - Dalian is now facing unprecedented opportunities.
The city government said the opportunities are both for Dalian and for businesses from home and abroad.
The government said it is encouraging more overseas companies to build their regional headquarters in Dalian, and especially welcome international shipping companies helping Dalian establish more trade and business links with the world.