Shanghai’s FTZ plans to improve customs service

A man, right, speaks to a motorbike taxi driver in front of the gate to China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone's Pudong free trade zone in Shanghai, China, on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013. The area is a testing ground for free-market policies that Premier Li Keqiang has signaled he may later implement more broadly in the world's second-largest economy. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Pilot Free Trade Zone’s Pudong free trade zone in Shanghai, China. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Shanghai’s pilot free trade zone unveiled several measures aimed at improving customs services for high-technology companies in the zone.

An air cargo service center will be set up in Zhangjiang High-Tech Park to provide one-stop customs services including delivery of import manifest, customs declaration and customs inspection, Shanghai Customs said yesterday.

The center will cut customs clearance time to six to eight hours from at least two working days previously.

Customs formalities for imports of reagents, samples and equipment by high-tech companies, bio-pharmaceutical firms and microelectronics manufacturers will be streamlined, benefiting about 900 companies in Zhangjiang and neighboring areas, it said. Customs has also pledged to cut the threshold for small and medium-sized firms to offer offshore outsourcing services and encourage clusters of advanced manufacturing such as aircraft and new-energy vehicles in the FTZ.

Other measures include introducing customized customs services for high-tech companies, setting up bonded warehouses for small businesses and strengthening intellectual property protection.

“These new measures are market-oriented and based on enterprises’ need, and aim to tackle actual problems and boost trade facilitation,” said Zheng Jugang, vice director of Shanghai Customs.

Also yesterday, customs unveiled another eight measures to simplify customs clearance process and boost trade facilitation for all FTZ-based enterprises. They include trading of bonded commodities in the zone and simpler customs procedures for imports of art supplies.

In the first five months of this year, trade in the FTZ totaled 287.1 billion yuan (US$46.3 billion), accounting for 26 percent of the city’s total.

Port of Shanghai – extends its lead as world’s busiest container port

Port of Shanghai, China [Picture: DaliyMail.co.uk]

Port of Shanghai, China [Picture: DaliyMail.co.uk]

Shanghai retained its title as the world’s busiest container port for a fifth consecutive year after widening the gap with its closest rival Singapore.

Singapore handled 33.9 million 20-foot containers last year, according to a statement posted on the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore’s website dated Jan. 16. Last month, Shanghai said it expects to process about 35.2 million boxes in 2014. A year before, the gap between the two ports was about 1 million boxes.

Shanghai, Shenzhen and other ports in China are dominating the global container-shipping market while the facility in Ningbo overtook South Korea’s Busan last year as the world’s fifth-busiest harbor. Seven of the world’s 10 top container ports were in China in 2013, with Hong Kong coming in fourth.

Shipping companies are adding larger container ships to meet demand as economic growth helped consumers to spend more money on clothes and food. Global trade last year probably grew 3.8 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Global containerized trade reached 124 million boxes in the first 11 months of 2014, an increase of 4.3 percent from 118.9 million a year ago, according to Container Trade Statistics Ltd.

Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Co., the world’s second-largest container shipping company, currently operates the biggest vessel that can carry 19,224 boxes between Asia and Europe. Last year, China Shipping Container Lines Co. launched a ship that could carry about 19,100 containers. Source: Bloomberg/GCaptain