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Shanghai port consolidates its position as world's busiest



SHANGHAI, the world's busiest container port, will consolidate its title this year and leverage its record throughput to become a multi-faceted provider of port services.
The city, which overtook Singapore as the world's biggest container handler last year, saw its annual container traffic volume surpass 30 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) yesterday. The figure hits an unprecedented level in the world's port history and marks a new leg in Shanghai's voyage to become a global shipping center by 2020.
China's remarkable trade boom is reflected in the Shanghai port numbers, which went from 7,951 TEUs in 1978 to 29.05 million TEUs in 2010. The city's customs oversaw a total of US$790 billion worth of imports and exports in the first three quarters of this year - a 19.3 percent year-on-year increase. And its port handled 23.9 million TEUs over the first 10 months, ahead of that of 23.56 million TEUs at Singapore Port. Shanghai International Port (Group) Co, the port operator, predicted the city's container throughput to reach 31.5 million TEUs by the year end.
Singapore's full-year figure of container traffic volume is due for release in January.
The State Council, China's Cabinet, mapped out a detailed nautical chart in April 2009 to steer Shanghai toward becoming a world-class port and elevated the exploration to the national strategic level. The authority has adopted a string of policies to put wind in the sails, which includes a business tax exemption on international shipping revenues for shippers registered at the Yangshan Deep-Water Port. Logistics companies and warehouse operators at the port are also entitled to the exemption.
Logistics services have been pushing the port beyond its traditional role as a cargo and container handler as it seeks to pull in more value-added income. Last year, shipping and port logistics companies in the city teamed with others along the Yangtze River for better coordination and efficiency, as part of the plan to turn Shanghai in! to a mod ern transfer hub during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-15).
It's considered critical for Shanghai port to push the transformation, as shrinking external demand amid a global economic slowdown has weakened China's exports. The Ministry of Finance cut tariffs on imports last week to pare the downside and balance trade after the growth rate of China's exports hit a nine-month low in November.
"As the world's shipping industry ... faces economic uncertainties, Shanghai port, with its container traffic already at such high level, has to stick to its innovation-driven model to blaze out a path toward sustainable growth," the city government said in a statement on its website.

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