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Shanghai Port development

Mar 17, 2017

The Shanghai Municipal Government's Information Office held a press conference on February 13 on the city's port development. The following are the highlights:

Zhang Chaomei, director, Shanghai Port Services Office Tan Wu, deputy director, Shanghai Customs Li Jin, deputy director, Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau Chang Fuzhi, deputy director, Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration Li Guoguan, deputy director, Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection

Xinhua News Agency: The press release mentions the three-year target of the Shanghai international trade single window. Will you give more details about the plan to promote the single window system? What convenience and benefits will the single window platform bring to enterprises?

Zhang Chaomei: Shanghai started construction of the international trade single window in 2014 with a three-year plan. After three years of construction, the plan has been completed. We are now discussing the next three-year plan to further construct the single window together with the free trade zone from 2017 to 2020. We will further strengthen government management and service and optimize the platform during the next round of construction. We hope the single window system will turn more intelligent, cover more areas and connect with international single windows in the future.

The single window system has improved efficiency and lowered costs for enterprises and government supervision, greatly reduced the time of customs clearance, slashed 280 million yuan in direct costs and 2 billion yuan in indirect costs.

Tan Wu: Shanghai Customs has been actively involved in the construction of the single window, which has improved efficiency of both enterprises and customs. We will continue to join the system to better serve enterprises and port construction

Li Jin: The Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau has four aspects on targets.

First, enterprises and individuals can receive messages or check the status of their applications and clearance online.

Second, enterprises can check the inspection and quarantine charges on the single window platform so that they can estimate and control their costs.

Third, the time needed to complete the whole inspection and quarantine procedure should be predictable for firms, especially those who have set up distribution centers in Shanghai so that they can control their goods distribution and logistics costs.

Four, enterprises and consumers can track the quality monitoring on the single window platform.

We have got strong support from the port services office about the targets.

Chang Fuzhi: The Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration takes charge of issuing the final permits for entry and exit international ships. We have adopted online check and certificate issuance to international ships and turned paper entry permits into electronic ones in May which allow online verification.

In the next step, we will join forces with Shanghai Customs, the Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau and the Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection to get on international ships to carry out inspections, as required by the central government, sharing information and assisting each other in law enforcement.

Li Guoguan: The Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection is in charge of supervising international ships berthed at local ports and examining their staff. We have taken an active part in the construction of the single window, allowing international ships at local seaports to make online applications. We are trying to develop a nationwide online application window and are discussing with the port services office to extend the single window to airports and land ports.

STV: Statistics show an increase in import and export volume but we are still facing a critical situation of foreign trade. Since optimizing the port clearance environment is one of the important reforms what measures will Shanghai Customs and the inspection and quarantine department take to optimize the clearance environment and improve clearance efficiency?

Tan Wu: Shanghai Customs has been pushing to create a good clearance environment, facilitate trade and guarantee trade security. We adopted a series of measures to improve clearance efficiency last year, with the import efficiency up 13% and export efficiency rising 38.9%. Following the requirement of the General Administration of Customs, we have to improve the clearance efficiency by 1/3rd this year, which poses a great challenge for us. We are facing both opportunities and challenges in foreign trade currently.

We will undertake the following tasks this year. Firstly, improve clearance efficiency through reforms; create a good clearance environment and work hard to promote the national integration of customs clearance which was tried in Shanghai Customs last year. The ultimate goal of the reform of the national integration is to improve the clearance efficiency. It is expected that the clearance efficiency of Shanghai Customs will improve by 30% when the reforms are carried out throughout the nation this year.

Secondly, we will join hands with other inspection departments to make law enforcement via the single window.

Besides, we will cooperate with customs at the Yangtze River Economic Belt in law enforcement and supervision to further strengthen Shanghai's position as a logistics and trade center and improve clearance efficiency.

Thirdly, we will apply Internet plus technology to complete customs approval and application procedure online and through mobile phones.

We will also realize paperless office work, reduce fee collection items to ease enterprises' burden and take an active part in reforms of the free trade zone.

Li Jin: The Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau has taken measures to improve the port clearance environment and reduce clearance costs and procedures.

To lower enterprises' burden, we exempted 1.7 billion yuan in administrative and institutional fees for firms from 2013 to 2016 and lowered the port check proportion for low-risk commodities and enterprises with good credit records to cut clearance costs. We also signed certificates of origin to help homemade products enjoy tariff reduction and exemption in foreign countries. We issued 260,000 certificates of origin in 2016, up 76% from 2015, saving US$500 million for enterprises.

At the same time, we are also improving our administrative efficiency, information technology and work innovation.

Wenhui Daily: You mentioned previously that the number of entry and exit international cruises at local ports increased by 48.97% last year. I'd like to ask the immigration inspection, customs and quarantine departments what you will do to guarantee efficient clearance and security of the cruises.

Li Guoguan: The cruise economy has developed rapidly in recent years. In 2016, the Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection checked 997 international cruises, an increase of 44.9%; and more than 3 million tourists and staffers on the cruises, up 71.3%. Shanghai now boasts two cruise ports, the Shanghai International Cruise Terminal and the Wusong International Cruise Terminal. As the second-phase construction of Wusong terminal has started, the number of entry and exit travelers is expected to exceed 4 million in 2017. To ensure smooth clearance, we have appointed the Pujiang Station of Immigration Inspection as the professional team to inspect cruises at the two terminals. We will improve professional skills of immigration officers to cope with the frequent cruise visits at the terminals.

Travellers can choose to complete the clearance through the officer checking passage or self-service passage. The two cruise terminals have set up 26 self-service machines for clearance. About 30% of the travelers chose the self-service passage last year and the number is still increasing. Measures have also been taken to shorten the clearance time at the check windows. Officers can scan the bar code of Chinese tourists who exit from the Shanghai port and return to the port, which cut the clearance time from 15 seconds to a minimum of 3 seconds. As for visiting cruises, immigration inspectors will get aboard the cruises at the overseas port before they enter Chinese borders and perform the procedures on the cruises. When the cruises berth at the local port, tourists can enter the city as quickly as possible.

Inspectors will issue boarding permits valid for a year to employees who need to get aboard at local ports and issue landing permits valid within the year to cruise sailors who visit Shanghai frequently.

We will also take action to maintain order at the cruise ports. The number of cruises that enter and exit the border at Shanghai port accounted for 40% in the nation and thus cases of illegal entry and exit and stowaway occurred sometimes. We seized more than 300 people for such illegalities and four people who organized stowaways in 2016. Also last year, we settled 14 disputes between tourists and cruise operators because bad weather forced the cruises to change their travel schedule.

On October 1 last year, we tested a 15-day visa-free policy for overseas tourist groups that arrived in Shanghai by cruise. So far, more than 6,000 overseas tourists have entered the border without a visa. We will adopt more measures to offer convenience to cruise passengers soon.

Tan Wu: The cruise economy developed rapidly last year, up 50% from the previous year. The increasing number of tourists and simultaneous arrival of several cruise ships have posed big challenges to us. We added more customs officers at the major cruise home-ports, joined hands with district governments to expand the customs clearance space and increased passenger passages as well as improved our service to create a civilized and well-organized clearance environment.

Li Jin: Our task is to safeguard the security of the port and effectively prevent new types of epidemics such as Zika and yellow fever from spreading at the port. We have issued 10 measures to support the cruise industry's development, covering distribution of cross-border food and cruise maintenance. A food distribution center targeting the Asia-Pacific area will be set up in Shanghai.

Metro Express: What measures has the Maritime Safety Administration taken in port clearance construction, which is an important way to improve clearance efficiency and what kind of role do you play in supporting the cruise economy?

Chang Fuzhi: There is a huge shoal at the estuary area of Shanghai Port and ship sailing has been dependent on the artificial dredging of the shipping lane for decades. The current shipping lane is 12.5m in depth and 300m-400m in width, still too limited for super-ships. Now about 180 super-ships sail from and to Shanghai Port every day, a big increase from the 20 ships in 2002.

We are now studying how to expand the traffic capacity of the deep-water shipping lanes at the Yangtze River estuary and Yangshan Deep-Water Port. We are also studying how to allow more big ships to pass the shipping lanes when visibility isn't good enough.

We will give priority to cruises in water traffic management to ensure they arrive and depart punctually.

Jiefang Daily: I have two questions. The total value of imported and exported commodities at Shanghai Port accounted for 28.3% of the whole country. What's the city's position in imports and exports in the country? You mentioned three focuses in the construction scheme of the single window system for the next three years. Will you give us more details?

Zhang Chaomei: Shanghai Port is definitely the largest port of the country.

There are three aspects to the construction plan for the single window. First, government management and service: We will extend the government management and service to the port law enforcement and trade management as well as performance of permit procedures, connect the port logistics links, realize information sharing, expand service trade and innovation function of the free trade zone and further improve regional clearance and logistics. Our next-step effort is to connect the single window with international single windows and turn it into a key link of the international trade network.

Second, improve and expand functions of the platform and system. We plan to build a commodity tracking and inquiry platform to follow clearance and logistics of commodities. We will join hands with the customs and the inspection and quarantine departments to realize paperless inspection procedure and container equipment handover.

Third, application of payment and financing functions: We will further connect with the tax payment and other commercial payment system at the port and allow various kinds of fee payment to be completed at the single window. We are also studying businesses of guarantee, mortgage and insurance at the port.

We will promote cross-regional commodity transport, sharing clearance information with other departments and connect with the regional port logistics platform. We are also discussing some cooperation projects with the customs and inspection and quarantine departments to promote international cooperation and exchange.

The Central News Agency: I'm also interested in the cruise economy. Will you offer statistics about the entry and exit numbers of cruise passengers and the number of international passengers?

Li Guoguan: Altogether 3.88 million people entered and exited local cruise ports last year, including 2.87 million tourists. Most of the tourists were Chinese, with 100,000 foreign tourists.