North Bund Forum on shipping and aviation fosters cooperation and development

Huang Yixuan
The annual North Bund Forum on international shipping and aviation began on Friday, with local and international participants fostering greater communication and development.
Huang Yixuan

The annual North Bund Forum on international shipping and aviation kicked off on Friday, bringing a host of global guests to discuss the development and cooperation in these vital sectors.

Jointly hosted by China's Ministry of Transport and the Shanghai People's Government, the forum aims to deepen international collaboration, promote sustainable growth in the shipping and aviation industries, and enhance the crucial role of shipping as a bridge and link in global trade and cultural exchange.

Themed "Openness, Cooperation, and Innovation: Co-Building a New Landscape of Global Shipping and Aviation," the three-day forum provides a platform for the exchange of cutting-edge ideas and discussions on key issues in international shipping and aviation.

The opening ceremony, held at the Grand Halls in the North Bund, featured speeches by high-ranking officials, including Secretary-General Kitack Lim of the International Maritime Organization, who emphasized the importance of open cooperation and innovation in driving the industry forward.

Representatives from leading global shipping and aviation companies and important institutions also released more than 10 key achievements in areas such as innovation development and open cooperation.

Over the past year, China's shipping and aviation industry has successfully adapted and worked towards overcoming factors such as weak global economic growth, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and geopolitical conflicts, Vice Minister of Transport Fu Xuyin said at the main forum.

One of the key strategies has been the construction of a robust and well-developed shipping infrastructure system, Fu said. As of the end of 2022, China boasted an impressive 2,751 berths with a capacity of 10,000 tons or more. Additionally, the country's fleet of water transport vessels has reached 121,900, with a net tonnage of 298 million tons.

These investments have significantly improved the effectiveness of ensuring smooth and unobstructed waterways. In 2022, fixed asset investment in water transport saw a year-on-year increase of 10.9 percent, demonstrating China's commitment to further developing its shipping capabilities.

The national port cargo throughput reached 15.68 billion tons, with container throughput nearing 300 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in 2022, up 0.9 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively.

The growth momentum further continued in the period from January to August this year, with a year-on-year increase of 26 percent in FAI in water transport. Additionally, the national port cargo throughput, container throughput, and water transport volume witnessed growth of 8.4 percent, 4.8 percent, and 8.0 percent, respectively. said.

North Bund Forum on shipping and aviation fosters cooperation and development

Vice Minister of Transport Fu Xuyin delivered a speech at the main forum.

China has also made significant strides in building an efficient and interconnected shipping service network, resulting in the highest level of maritime connectivity worldwide, noted. Even during the challenging times of the pandemic, the country's national ports and waterways maintained uninterrupted operations, ensuring the smooth flow of export and import goods.

"So far, China has established shipping connections with over 100 countries and regions, deepening maritime interconnection and intercommunication with nations involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. The recent launch of the first domestically-developed container shipping index futures product further supports the ongoing construction of the Shanghai International Shipping Center."

In line with its commitment to environmental sustainability, China is actively cultivating a green and intelligent shipping model, Fu added. The adoption of new-generation information technology and clean energy sources has gained pace within the industry. With a focus on clean energy, over 450 liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered vessels have been built in the Yangtze River and Xijiang River basins.

The development of the Shanghai Port to Los Angeles Port green shipping corridor is also making steady progress, with the rail-waterway multimodal transport volume of containerized goods jumping 16 percent in 2022 from a year earlier. The proportion of green handling at major coastal ports for iron ore and coal has significantly risen to 70 percent and 92.3 percent, respectively.

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