Beibu Gulf Port in South China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region has achieved a significant increase in container throughput in January, contrary to the trend seen at many other foreign and domestic ports. The port’s operator, Beibu Gulf Port Group, reported that container throughput amounted to 558,100 twenty-foot equivalent units, up 15 percent from the previous year.
The growth in container throughput at Beibu Gulf Port can be attributed to the port’s efforts to explore supply sources in western China through the use of new land-sea transit routes, which have been developed in recent years. Additionally, the port has been able to capitalize on growing trade volume between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which has soared since the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement came into force in January 2022.
In contrast, major foreign ports, such as Singapore and the Port of Los Angeles, have seen a decline in container throughput. Singapore’s container throughput fell by 4.9 percent year-on-year to 2.99 million twenty-foot equivalent units in January, while the Port of Los Angeles processed 726,014 twenty-foot equivalent units, dropping 16 percent on a yearly basis. Similarly, China’s major port cities in the Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta regions are confronting similar challenges.
While many Chinese ports will face pressure from slowing external demand from European and North American routes, Wang Guowen, director of the center for logistics and supply chain management at the China Development Institute, believes that China’s increasing shipping activity to and from ASEAN will continue to grow this year. Furthermore, he predicts that closer trade ties will boost cooperation in various fields, such as tourism, digital economy, green energy, and healthcare, promoting regional connectivity and enhancing the resilience of supply chains between China and ASEAN.
Beibu Gulf Port is comprised of the ports of Fangchenggang, Qinzhou, and Beihai and serves as an important transit point in the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, a trade and logistics passage jointly built by western Chinese provincial regions and Singapore. The port currently runs 75 container routes and has access to 335 ports in 113 countries and regions worldwide. In 2022, Beibu Gulf Port handled 7.02 million twenty-foot equivalent units of containers, up 16.8 percent on a yearly basis.