China looks to restructure Pearl River Delta ports

The Chinese government is looking to restructure the three gateway ports in southern mainland China and Hong Kong, with the latter focusing on transshipment and imports into the mainland; Guangzhou serving domestic cargo; and Shenzhen geared toward exports, with some import handling.

The proposals come as the Chinese government has launched efforts to stop wasteful duplication of port resources after pushing the consolidation of ports in the Liaoning, Zhejiang, and Jiangsu provinces.

Still, competition to some extent seems unavoidable. Hong Kong has previously lost services to Shenzhen and Guangzhou, while Guangzhou has also been picking up cargoes from Shenzhen. Moves towards greater cooperation and rationalization come amid disquiet in Hong Kong about the incentives and subsidies offered by ports, especially Guangzhou’s Nansha terminal, to attract more international cargo.