【英语中国】广州港口挑战香港地位 Guangzhou ports threaten Hong Kong’s status

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2014-1-24 08:59

小艾摘要: Tens of thousands of litres of Admiral Vodka, a Lithuanian brand, lie in large blue vats in a warehouse in the southern Chinese port of Nansha waiting to be bottled for shipment to consumers in southe ...
Guangzhou ports threaten Hong Kong’s status
Tens of thousands of litres of Admiral Vodka, a Lithuanian brand, lie in large blue vats in a warehouse in the southern Chinese port of Nansha waiting to be bottled for shipment to consumers in southeast Asia.

The 900,000 litres that Nansha, the main port in Guangzhou, handles annually, alongside European wine, Scotch whisky and polyethylene plastic from the United Arab Emirates, are a few examples of how the lesser-known hub has helped Guangzhou gain ground on Hong Kong and become the seventh-largest container port.

“Nansha is one of the Chinese ports that is a little bit invisible to the outside, but it is one of the giants in a region of giants,” says Olaf Merk, a shipping expert at the OECD.

Guangzhou and six other Chinese ports rank among the top 10, as do Singapore, Busan in South Korea and Dubai, according to Lloyd’s List. While Guangzhou is smaller than Shanghai, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, it is growing at a faster rate because of Nansha and its three other ports.

In the decade to the end of 2012, the volume of traffic through Guangzhou port rose 434 per cent to an annual 14.7m TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit), the measure for big containers. Shanghai grew 188 per cent to 32.5m and Shenzhen rose 116 per cent to 22.9m.

The only Chinese port to grow faster was Ningbo-Zhoushan, south of Shanghai, where volumes rose more than 500 per cent. Meanwhile, Hong Kong expanded 13 per cent to 23.1m, after recording the only annual decline at a Chinese port in 2012.

“What’s striking to see is the relative decline of Hong Kong in comparison with these other ports,” says Mr Merk. Hong Kong is worried that it might lose its spot as the third-biggest port after Shanghai and Singapore.

“We are facing a lot of competition from ports in the south China region,” says Carrie Lam, head of Hong Kong’s civil service. “There is always this worry in the back of my mind that we?.?.?.?drop to number four because of Shenzhen.”

Ms Lam says Hong Kong is trying to compete more on maritime services, for which it has a strong reputation.

The soaring volumes at mainland ports are mainly due to the increase in Chinese trade in recent years, a trend highlighted when China overtook the US as the biggest goods trader.

But Guangzhou is also gaining from ships bypassing Hong Kong, a traditional transshipment hub, and heading directly to the heart of the Pearl River Delta manufacturing area.

This makes more sense when the cargo is destined for, or coming from, cities such as Guangzhou and Foshan on the west side of the river, averting the need for an expensive cross-border drive around the delta.

To attract more volume, Nansha has developed its facilities and deepened the port to allow bigger ships access. It received a big boost in 2011 when Maersk decided to move about a third of its Hong Kong volumes to the port.

Charles De Trenck, an independent shipping analyst, says: “Nansha was a lemon for many years, as it was not charging enough for cost [but] about eight years ago it became apparent that it was going to be OK.”

In contrast, Mr De Trenck says, Hong Kong “lost its mojo a long time ago”, and has seen no direct traffic growth in 15 years; it now relies on transshipment.

Some observers are less pessimistic. Jon Windham, an analyst at Barclays, says Nansha does not pose an “existential threat” to Hong Kong, and a rise in north Asian trade means more demand for transshipment services that will benefit the former British colony.

Nansha operates 37 foreign routes, a significant rise from 11 in 2008, says Zeng Yanhong, an employee at Guangzhou South China Oceangate Container Terminal. She says the port plans to increase the number of deepwater container berths from 10 to as many as 18 in the next few years.

While the port continues to expand, the wider Nansha district, a relatively under-developed area 60km south of Guangzhou, is one of several economic zones Guangdong is promoting as to attract particularly high value-added industry.

Lionel Ni, dean of the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology’s graduate school, which has opened a research institute in Nansha, says it is “important for the future development of Guangzhou”. He says the local government is offering incentives for business, including potential low personal tax rates closer to those in Hong Kong.

One early success for Nansha was the move by Herrenknecht, the German tunnelling equipment maker, to open a plant in 2006, the same year Toyota and its Chinese partner GAC built a factory.

Huang Xiumin at the carmaker said the plant built 251,000 vehicles in 2012 for the Chinese market, of which 30 per cent went through Nansha port.

“Because Nansha has a top level port, the conditions are excellent for the auto industry,” says Ms Huang. “And since it is one of the new development zones in Guangzhou, the potential for future growth is extremely high.”

在南沙港的一座仓库里,成千上万升Admiral牌伏特加(一个立陶宛品牌)静静地躺在蓝色大桶里,等着被装瓶后运往东南亚销售。

南沙港是中国南方广州市的主要港口,每年光是Admiral伏特加的运输量就达90万升,此外还要处理欧洲葡萄酒、苏格兰威士忌和来自阿联酋的聚乙烯塑料等其他货物。这个名气不大的货运中心已经帮助广州发展成为世界第7大集装箱港口,直逼香港。

经济合作与发展组织(OECD)的船运专家奥拉夫?默克(Olaf Merk)说:“对外界来说,南沙港是一个没什么名气的中国港口,但它的规模却是世界一流的。”

根据Lloyd’s List的数据,广州连同另外6个中国港口都排进了全球10大集装箱港口,剩下3个是新加坡、韩国釜山和迪拜。广州的名次虽低于上海、香港和深圳,但在南沙港和其他3个港口的推动下,它的发展速度更快。

从2003年到2012年,10年之间,广州港口的年吞吐量暴涨434%,达到1470万TEU(20英尺标准箱)。上海增长了188%,至3250万TEU,深圳上升了116%,至2290万TEU。

只有宁波-舟山港(位于上海以南)增速超过了广州的港口,其吞吐量增幅超过500%。香港的吞吐量提高了13%,达到2310万TEU,而在2012年它还是唯一出现年度下滑的中国港口。

默克说:“看到香港相对上述其它港口的下滑,才真叫人吃惊。”香港开始担心自己或许会失去世界第三大港口的地位,前两名分别为上海和新加坡。

“我们正面对来自中国南方各港口的激烈竞争。”香港政务司司长林郑月娥(Carrie Lam)说,“其实我内心深处一直在担心……我们会被深圳超过,跌到第四。”

林郑月娥表示,香港正积极增强自身在海事服务上的竞争力,这也是香港本来就声誉卓著的一个方面。

中国内地港口吞吐量飙升,主要靠的是近年来中国贸易量的增长。中国已经超过美国,成为世界第一大商品贸易国。

而广州还额外受益于那些绕过香港(传统转运中心)直抵珠江三角洲工业区中心的船只。

对于以广州和佛山等位于珠江西岸的城市为终点或起点的船只来说,选择这一航线也更加合理,省去了汽车绕三角洲所产生的昂贵的跨境运输费。

为了吸引更多货运业务,南沙港不断完善自身设施,同时加深港口以容纳更大的船只进入。2011年,马士基公司(Maersk)决定将在香港三分之一的业务挪到南沙港,让南沙港的货运量得到了提升。

独立船运分析师查尔斯?德特伦克(Charles De Trenck)说:“南沙港当了很多年鸡肋,因为它一直入不敷出,(但是)大约8年前情况明显好转。”

德特伦克说,与之相比,香港“很久以前就没那么好运了”,其直接货运的吞吐量已经15年不见增长,现在主要依赖转运业务。

有些观察家则没这么悲观。巴克莱(Barclays)的分析师约翰?温德姆(Jon Windham)表示,南沙港并没有对香港构成“生存威胁”,并且随着北亚地区贸易发展,对转运服务的需求也跟着增加,这个前英国殖民地将从中受益。

广州南沙海港集装箱码头有限公司的员工曾艳红(音译)说,2008年南沙港的国际航线是11条,如今已跃升至37条。她表示,南沙港计划在未来几年内,将深水集装箱泊位从10个增加到18个。

在南沙港不断扩张的同时 ,整个南沙区也是广东省着力推广、以吸引高附加值产业的经济开发区之一。南沙区位于广州市以南60公里处,发展相对落后。

香港科技大学霍英东研究院就建在了南沙区,院长倪明选(Lionel Ni)表示,南沙区“对广州未来的发展非常重要”。他说,当地政府为促进商业发展出台鼓励措施,包括有可能将个人所得税降低到与香港接近的水平。

南沙区所取得的初期成就之一,是2006年吸引德国隧道机械制造商海瑞克公司(Herrenknecht)在此地开办工厂。同年,丰田公司(Toyota)和中国合作伙伴广汽集团(GAC)也在此地设厂。

这家汽车制造商的员工黄秀敏(音译)说,南沙工厂2012年生产25.1万辆汽车,面向中国市场销售,其中有30%是从南沙港运出的。

“因为南沙拥有顶级的港口,对汽车工业来说,这一条件得天独厚。”黄秀敏说,“再加上它还是广州省的新兴开发区,未来发展潜力巨大。”

译者/曲雯雯

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