Moves under way to develop Shenzhen as centre

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 November, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 November, 1999, 12:00am

The Communist Party and the Shenzhen Municipal Gvernment have proposed a development plan to build Shenzhen into a shipping and logistics hub,. Shenzhen vice-mayor Guo Rongjun says.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the opening of the Shenzhen branch of P&O Nedlloyd (China) last week, Mr. Guo said a series of policy decisions to develop the shipping industry had been made.

The plan to build Shenzhen into a regional shipping and logistics hub by 2010 had been proposed by the Transportation Bureau at an international conference of shipping held in Shenzhen last yer.

Experts were optimistic that the plan was realistic, he said.

P&O Nedlloyd Asia's region and trades managing director Remi Speld said the opening of the Shenzhen branch was an important milestone in the company's mainland trade development and would enhance its capability to provide quality services to customers in Shenzhen and in the Pearl River Delta.

The branch status would enable P&O Nedlloyd to solicit cargo, issue bills of loading and collect freight instead of using state agents in southern China.

Over the past five years, the volume of export growth had been about 20 per cent annually. Growth had been 35 - 50 per cent in the past two years.

Eric Wong, P&O Nedlloyd's general manager for sales and marketing, said the company, being a global carrier, was customer focused and emphasised door-to-door service.

P&O Nedlloyd opened its first branch office in Shanghai in 1995 and has since opened 19 representative offices in all major coastal cities. Its vessels make 14 direct calls to the mainland weekly.

Mr. Speld said the carrier, which had obtained a licence to open P&O Nedlloyd Logistics (China) in Shanghai in December last year, was applying for logistics licences in four other mainland cities.

Approval was expected by the end of this year, he said.

This would enable the carrier to directly control and manage logistics and offer multimodal transport to and from inland locations.

P&O Nedlloyd (HK) managing director Alfred Lo said that because of increased economic activity in Shenzhen, P&O Nedlloyd had explored new routes and had increased the number of direct calls it made from one to six per week.

The company has set up offices in Shenzhen, Shekou, Yantian, Shunde and Shantou. In co-operation with state-owned agents, it takes care of cargo transport in these areas.

Asked about competition between southern mainland ports and Hong Kong port, Mr. Speld said he was optimistic that hong Kong would maintain its position as the leading container port for China, despite the rapid growth of Shenzhen port.