Friday, August 13, 2010

Asian Freight Conference Closes Today In China

Pan-Beibu Forum Brings Closer Cooperation
Shipping News Feature

CHINA –The fifth Pan-Beibu Gulf forum closed today here in the ‘Green City’ of Nanning, the capital of Guangxi region in the South of the Country. Since its inception the forum has grown, both in numbers of representatives and importance. During his opening speech on Wednesday Chen Ruixian, vice director of the Pan-Beibu Gulf Economic Zone commented on the success of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) which, since its inception on 1st January, has meant that than 90 percent (over 7,000) of products shipping between China and the members of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, including Brunei, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, have become tariff-free.

CAFTA forms the largest free trade area in the world and the volume of trade between China and the ASEAN countries was up 55% for the first six months of 2010 to around $136 billion, which delegates said showed the positive effect of CAFTA and made the free trade region China’s fourth biggest trading partner by volume.

One of the hot topics this year was the development of the Nanning-Singapore Economic Corridor which still has vital links missing. ASEAN members are aware that their freight forwarders and haulage operations must be at the top of their game to compete in the revised market. There is a real danger that some countries, like Malaysia, may become principally a transit corridor for through traffic between countries like Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar and China without any economic benefit themselves. However, delegates generally believed that the road and rail freight corridor would prove to be the engine which drives further growth and development for the whole region.

The forum has grown since its inception in 2006 with the presence of Thailand and the corridor is an important piece in linking over one and a half billion people who live in the ASEAN region and the forum’s discussions will doubtless continue at October's ASEAN summit in Hanoi. Virtually all of China/ASEAN trade passes through the Pan-Beibu Gulf economic zone as Guangxi is the only Chinese region with direct land and water links to South East Asia.

The Government of the hosting Guangxi autonomous region has set aside over $880 to support new port developments which will enable container facilities and other port to handle around 300 million tonnes per annum, three times the current level. The Pan-Beibu Gulf zone is an area surrounded by south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guangdong and Hainan provinces and the Guangxi Beibu Gulf International Port Group includes the ports of Fangchenggang, Beihai and Qinzhou.

Photo :- Mr. Chen Ruixian announces details of this years conference.