森罗荡荡

森罗荡荡

By Wang Hairong

Wi t h s h i p s fully adorned with brightly colored signal flags, Shanghai Port was in festive atmosphere on July 11. At 9 a.m. sharp, all Chinese vessels whistled in unison for one minute, to usher in the Maritime Day.

At the same time, 17 sailboats cruised along the Huangpu River in Shanghai, also part of the activities to mark the special day, the 17th in the country.

The event was established in 2005 in commemoration of the 600th anniversary of renowned ancient Chinese navigator Zheng Hes voyages to Southeast Asia and East Africa in the 15th century, which charted the routes of the ancient maritime silk road.

This year, various activities took place across the country, including a maritime forum held in Zhengs hometown Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province. At the virtual opening ceremony, Zhao Chongjiu, Vice Minister of Transport, said Chinas shipping industry has made remarkable achievements, and become a globally important and influential player. He added that the sector has played an important role in boosting foreign trade, serving national economic and social development, and safeguarding Chinas maritime rights and interests.

The shipping industry is committed to building a modern and high-quality transportation system that is convenient, efficient, green, intelligent, safe and reliable, He Jianzhong, Chairman of China Institute of Navigation, said at the forum. He also spoke highly of the industrys seafaring spirit, which features virtues such as a pioneering spirit, pragmatism, solidarity and dedication.

With 18,000 km of coastline and more than 11,000 islands, China is a big maritime country, as well as a shipping and shipbuilding power in the world.

In 2020, Chinas total port cargo throughput and container throughput ranked first in the world, respectively reaching 14.55 billion tons and 260 million 20-foot equivalent units, Zhao said at a press conference on June 24. That year, eight Chinese ports were listed among the top 10 in the world in terms of cargo throughput, and seven among the top 10 in terms of container throughput.

At of the end of 2020, the total shipping capacity of Chinas maritime fleet reached 310 million deadweight tons, the second largest worldwide. China COSCO Shipping and China Merchants Group were respectively the first and second largest among the worlds shipping enterprises.

Marine shipping has played an important role in supporting foreign trade and boosting overall economic development of China, the globally largest trader in goods. About 95 percent of the countrys imports and exports are delivered through marine shipping.