The chairman of Qingdao Port International, Zheng Minghui, has said in a statement that lower rates of growth are “the new normal” for the Chinese container terminal industry.
He said that the era of rapid growth has gone and been replaced by “medium-to high or even medium” growth. Put differently, he said, growth has gone from double digits to single digits, due to the slowdown in China’s import and export growth.
Growth at the main Chinese coastal ports has fallen from 11.3% in 2011 to 5.6% in 2014, according to the Ministry of Transport.
Added to this, China’s exports fell by 15% in March 2015, while imports fell at their fastest rate since the 2009 crisis.
Qingdao’s throughput growth in 2014 was 7%. This follows increases of 7% in 2013 and 11% in 2012.
Minghui said the company had tried to transform from a traditional port to a modern logistics service and was well-positioned to benefit from the ‘New Silk Road’, connecting China with Central Asia and Europe.
He continued to say that the China-South Korea Free Trade Agreement will help Qingdao, as it is “the best sea route for cargoes from inland China to be exported to South Korea”.
In 2015, the port will continue to position itself as a hub facing Japan and South Korea but also attempt to expand to South-East Asia.
In 2013, Qingdao was the 7th biggest port in the world and the biggest in Northern China, according to CM’s World Top 120 Container Ports.
The company increased its profit, before income tax, by 4% year-on-year in 2014.