JIANGMEN in the Pearl River delta seeking foreign investors to participate in the development of a port at a cost of 200 million yuan (about HK$179.4 million).
Plans for the development were announced to Hong Kong Shippers' Council members who visited delta ports last week.
The port will cover 1.3 million square metres and handle vessels of up to 5,000 deadweight tonnes (dwt).
Port officials said a bigger facility was needed to cope with the growing container and cargo traffic.
They said negotiations were under way with Hong Kong investors to set up a joint venture.
The port will be built east of Wai Hai, where a hi-tech industrial park is being set up about one kilometre from the existing facility.
The port's Gaosha terminal, with a quay length of 860 metres, is claimed to be the largest port facility in the delta.
Completed in 1977, Jiangmen port has 12 berths and can accommodate vessels of 1,000 tonnes. The highest lifting capacity is 50 tonnes.
Located about 127 kilometres from Hong Kong, the port can handle vessels with a draft of 4.5 metres.
The annual handling capacity of the port, spread over 150,000 sq metres, is two million tonnes of cargo and 80,000 TEUs (20 ft equivalent units).
Last year it handled 60,000 TEUs and 600,000 tonnes of bulk cargo.
Bonded warehouses occupy about 42,700 sq metres. Five container freight stations are spread over 9,000 sq metres.
Regular liner services are provided between Jiangmen and Hong Kong and Macau.
Two other small ports in the Pearl River delta - Gaoming and Doumen - also are trying to boost business with Hong Kong.
Built at a cost of 20 million yuan (about HK$17.8 million), Gaoming port is a joint venture of China's Chu Kong Shipping Co and Gaoming authorities.
It has a 60-tonne crane and a 25-tonne forklift which take about two hours to unload a 16-TEU (20 ft equivalent units) barge.
Chu Kong, which operates two such barges and a 300-tonne bulk carrier from Gaoming, is building two 30-TEU barges.
The port handled 8,000 TEUs in the first seven months of this year, with throughput expected to reach 20,000 TEUs for the whole year.
Vessels carrying agriculture produce and consumer goods leave for Hong Kong at 5 pm daily, covering the 150-kilometre run in about 18 hours.
On the return trip they carry raw materials and light industrial goods.
Vessels with a 21/2-metre draft can go all the way from Hong Kong.
Doumen port, which opened in November 1992, is a joint venture between Chinese and overseas investors.
With a quay length of 98 metres, the port can accommodate vessels of up to 1,000 dwt throughout the year.
It can handle 30,000 tonnes of cargo and 20,000 TEUs a year.
Facilities include 15,000 sq metres of open storage space and two warehouses totalling 16,000 sq metres.
A regular nightly service is operated from Doumen to Hong Kong.