Three-dimensional transport system connects Xiamen with the world
An aerial view of Xiamen Port in East China's Fujian province. [Photo provided to China Daily]
The container throughput of Xiamen Port in East China's Fujian province was 11.41 million twenty-foot equivalent units in 2020, up 2.54 percent year-on-year. Since last June, the monthly container throughput of the port has exceeded 1 million TEUs seven months in a row, a historical record, according to statistics from the city's port administration.
As a key port city of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Silk Road Economic Belt, Xiamen aims to develop a world-class port with an annual container throughput of 14 million TEUs by 2025 and become a special economic zone with a free trade port by 2035.
A shipping hub
As the 14th largest port in the world, Xiamen Port offers 146 container shipping routes, including more than 100 foreign trade routes to 138 ports in 44 countries.
Silk Road Maritime, China's first Belt and Road international comprehensive logistics service platform focusing on shipping, was launched at Xiamen Port on Dec 24, 2018, enhancing economic and trade exchanges with countries around the world.
Xiamen currently offers 55 shipping routes named after the Silk Road Maritime, forming an alliance with nearly 170 well-known companies involved in ports, shipping, logistics, and trade worldwide.
From January to November 2020, 1,932 voyages were made on 51 of the routes, carrying 1.86 million TEUs, up 1.06 percent year-on-year.
The port also cooperated with Israel-based ZIM Integrated Shipping to introduce the first "e-commerce express" cargo route in September 2020, with five vessels in service. The ships stop in Xiamen every week and head directly to the Port of Los Angeles in the United States, which takes 15 days, making it a highly-effective and low-cost logistical route.
"The business environment at Xiamen Port is among the best in China. Its high-quality services are capable of ensuring the stable operation of the e-commerce route, which creates a highly-efficient link between vendors and buyers in Fujian and across the world," said Li Xiaobing, president of the South China branch of ZIM at an e-commerce meeting on Jan 5.
Sea-land-air transportation system
Building Xiamen into an international shipping center requires an integrated port-railway transportation system, said Yin Li, secretary of the CPC Fujian Provincial Committee, during a recent interview with Xinhua.
In 2015, the first China-Europe train departed from the Fujian Pilot Free Trade Zone in Xiamen via Chengdu. At present, Xiamen offers freight train routes to Central Europe, Central Asia, and Russia, reaching more than 30 cities in 12 countries, including Poznan, Poland; Budapest, Hungary; Hamburg, Germany; Moscow, Russia; and Almaty and Tashkent in Central Asia.
A total of 273 trains left Xiamen in 2020 carrying 24,112 TEUs of cargo weighing 142,400 tons and valued at $962 million. All of these numbers are record highs, with year-on-year growth rates of 17, 36, 59, and 40 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, the sea-railway combined transportation service is also performing well. Last August, the Philippines followed South Korea, Vietnam, and China's Taiwan region to become the fourth place to have its cargo delivered to Xiamen by sea and transported to Europe by rail.
Officials of Xiamen Customs said that the China-Europe freight service in Xiamen has become a vital logistics channel for ensuring Sino-European trade exchange and cooperation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the beginning of 2020, the trains have carried masks, protective clothing, medical equipment, shoes, hats, clothing, and other urgently needed supplies to countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Xiamen has also opened new flights to build a three-dimensional transport network encompassing sea, land, and air.
By September 2020, there were 35 international air lines from Xiamen, including 21 to countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. They form a network covering Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia.
Statistics from the Xiamen Transportation Bureau show that Xiamen's throughput of international transit passengers ranked fifth in the Chinese mainland, making it a major international transit hub.
The new international airport is currently under construction in Xiang'an district. The first phase is expected to be completed before 2023. It will become one of the largest terminals in China, capable of handling more than 45 million passengers annually.