Major Chinese port city Zhoushan ramps up for busy operations during Spring Festival
Published: Jan 20, 2023 05:28 PM
Local customs officials inspect containers at the port in Zhoushan, East China's Zhejiang Province. Photo: Courtesy of Zhoushan Customs

Local customs officials inspect containers at the port in Zhoushan, East China's Zhejiang Province. Photo: Courtesy of Zhoushan Customs

Zhoushan, East China's Zhejiang Province, a major Chinese port city, is gearing up for an increase in trade flow, with local port customs authorities working around the clock in preparation for the arrival of more cargo ships during the Spring Festival holidays, the first after China optimized its anti-epidemic measures.

The city, which has been considered a barometer for foreign trade, saw a whopping jump of 43.6 percent year-on-year in imports and exports in 2022, mirroring the strong resilience of China's economic and trade during the pandemic. As the nation is ready for an economic and trade rebound backed up by increasing domestic consumption and the resumption of production, the port city is beefing up operations again.

Two days ahead of the holidays, Wu Tong, a customs official with the Yongzhou Terminal in Zhoushan, had no time to rest, as he and his colleagues needed to stay on duty during the holidays due to an increasing number of cargo ships are expected to arrive soon.

"More than two dozen cargo ships from around the world are set to arrive during the Spring Festival holidays, which means a busier schedule than usual," Wu told the Global Times on Friday.

Responding to the situation, Zhoushan Customs has sent out an early notice to trading companies, informing them to make reservations online as part of efforts to facilitate clearance procedures.

"We will adjust our work shifts in a flexible way, including overtime work, to better respond to the changing trade activities at the port," Wu said, noting that the efficiency for customs clearance and inspection will remain the same during the upcoming holidays.

To speed up customs clearance, other measures are also being put into place. For example, Zhoushan Customs has implemented 24-hour approval for ships entering and leaving the port, as well as an appointment system for customs clearance available 24-hour a day and seven days a week, which includes night inspections when necessary, according to a press release the Zhoushan Customs sent to the Global Times on Friday.

The high automation rate of Zhoushan's Yongzhou Terminal, a pilot pier for digital upgrading in the region, also enables timely operation and response in all business sectors at the port, including loading and unloading containers upon ships' arrival, with little manual labor involved. The automatic equipment put into use in 2022 has upgraded the port efficiency by 30-40 percent, according to the Zhoushan Yongzhou Container Terminal Co, which runs the port.

Zhoushan has been a living example of China's resilient trade. In 2022, Zhoushan's total trade amounted to 338.18 billion yuan ($49.86 billion), a year-on-year increase of 43.6 percent, with both import and export achieving double-digit growth, according to data Zhoushan Customs sent to the Global Times on Friday.

Essential daily commodities like clothing and home appliances from factories in China to bulk commodities such as coal and oil from Russia and Indonesia are all part of the main trading goods in the region.

The trade performance allowed the city to rank first in Zhejiang, China's leading transportation and manufacturing hub in terms of growth in 2022.

As an important trading hub under the Belt and Road Initiative, Zhoushan also recorded a substantive growth in trade in 2022 - 214.85 yuan or 55.5 percent year-on-year growth with countries along the route.

Global Times