Yangtze region shaping up in attempt to unify clearance and increase commerce Customs clearance in the Yangtze River Delta economic zone's main cities will be unified by the end of the year to boost the region's position as a world-class logistics centre. The move to unify customs procedures in Shanghai, Nanjing Hangzhou and Ningbo was part of a blueprint on customs reforms endorsed by the two-day Yangtze River Delta Cities Economic Co-ordination Committee meeting on Saturday, Xinhua reported yesterday. Mainland companies exporting goods to other parts of the country are now required to have customs clear their goods twice - where the firm is based and where the goods are being exported to. But under a new integrated computerised system, a Yangtze delta company can choose to have its goods cleared at any of the four cities. Clearance at the goods' collection or dispatch point would not be necessary, the report said. For example, it is estimated that for an air shipment between the Jiangsu Industrial Park and the Shanghai checkpoint, the time needed to clear customs will be reduced from 30 to 24 hours, and logistics costs cut by 30 per cent. 'All parties involved are working hard to get the unified Yangtze River Delta customs clearance system running by the end of the year,' Xinhua quoted Chen Rongtang, deputy chief of the Shanghai municipal government's Office for Co-operation and Exchange Affairs, as saying. Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces , and Shanghai, reported a combined US$419.3 billion increase in exports in the first nine months of this year, a 26.9 per cent jump over the same period last year. The customs deal is part of agreements reached during the two-day conference that ended in Jiangsu yesterday. Also at the meeting, 10 cities near the delta, including Xuzhou in Jiangsu and Wuhu in Anhui , repeated their hopes of joining the bustling economic zone. City representatives submitted their requests as observers during the meeting, but they were not approved, said the Oriental Morning Post newspaper. It was also revealed at the meeting that a 2.2 billion yuan web-based platform for the exchange of information on scientific equipment in the Yangtze delta had been launched. The website is the first of its kind in China. Meanwhile, the first phase of the Yangshan port in Shanghai will come into operation by the end of the year, said Xu Peixing , director of the Shanghai Municipal Port Administration Bureau, in the Dongfang Daily. Stretching 1,600 metres, the initial phase of the port will be capable of handling 2.2 million teus (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containers annually. On completion, it is expected to challenge the dominance of Singapore and Hong Kong as the world's busiest port.