September 29, 2017



China has sixteen “major” shipping ports with a capacity of over 50 million tons per year. Combined China’s total shipping capacity is in excess of 2,890 million tons. By 2010, 35% of the world’s shipping is expected to originate from China. The seven largest port terminals are Dalian, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo, Qingdao, Qinhuangdao, Shanghai. Additionally, Hong Kong is a major international port serving as an important trade center for China. In 2005 Shanghai Port Management Department reported that its Shanghai port became the world’s largest cargo port, processing cargo topping 443 million tons and surpassing Singapore’s port. The Port of Shanghai is presently undergoing significant upgrades. Shanghai Model Port Alliance is responsible for many of the upgrades that are expected to make Shanghai’s port more automated, minimizing the loss of goods and time while helping Customs collect more accurate tariffs. If the Shanghai project is successful, there is interest in replicating the process in other Chinese ports.

As of 2004, China’s merchant fleet had 3,497 ships. Of these, 1,700 ships of 1,000 gross register tons (GRT) or more totaled 20.4 million tons. Ships by type: barge carrier 2, bulk carrier 325, cargo ship 840, chemical tanker 21, combination bulk carrier 11, combination ore/oil 1, container ship 125, liquified gas 20, multi-functional large load carrier 5, passenger ship 8, passenger/cargo ship 46, oil tanker 251, refrigerated cargo ship 24, roll-on/roll-off 21, short-sea passenger 43, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 1 (1999 est.)

Inland Navigation System

China has 110,000 kilometers of navigable rivers, streams, lakes, and canals, more than any country in the world. In 2015, the traffic on the inland waterways has grown to 3.459 billion tonnes, cargo turnover to 1.331 trillion tkm. It has trebled since 2006. Passenger traffic is 271 million people and 7.308 billion person-km (2015), as reported by the 2015 Transportation Industry Statistical bulletin.

The main navigable rivers are the Heilong Jiang; Yangtze River; Xiang River, a short branch of the Yangtze; Pearl River; Huangpu River; Lijiang River; and Xi Jiang.

Ships of up to 10,000 tons can navigate more than 1,000 km (621 mi) on the Yangtze as far as Wuhan. Ships of 1,000 tons can navigate from Wuhan to Chongqing, another 1,286 km (799 mi) upstream. The Grand Canal is the world’s longest canal at 1,794 km (1,115 mi) and serves 17 cities between Beijing and Hangzhou. It links five major rivers: the Haihe, Huai River, Yellow River, Qiantang, and Yangtze.