Fangchenggang becomes main seaport gateway to Cambodia

Guangxi has a 1,000 square kilometre coastline on the Gulf of Tonkin with some major seaports like Beihai, Qinzhou and Fangchenggang playing an important role.

With more than 230 kilometers of borderline, Fangchanggang emerges as the only city in the whole of China to have border crossings by land, sea and river.

It is also the main port that caters for exports to Cambodia from China and has up to three dedicated cargo vessels plying the Sihanoukville route while it also connects seven neighboring nations by sea.

As for shipments to Cambodia, a port official said the port is handling mainly minerals and fertilizers while rice and agricultural products were imported from Cambodia.

The official conceded that the volume of shipment was small at the moment but is optimistic the trade volume will grow over time with more export processing industries setting up operations in that area.

The decision by the Fangchenggang authorities to develop and promote the sea port as a gateway is part of a long term strategy.

It involves the placing of the coastal border economic belt as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), putting Fangchenggang at the forefront of the BRI’s thrust into the Asean region.

“Considering Guangxi’s strategic locality, the Belt and Road Initiative will bring golden opportunities to the development of Guangxi’s Beibu Gulf, as the grand plan is to boost regional cooperation,” said the port official during a media briefing.

The official said to develop these areas, Fangchenggang has made plans targeting different industries such as building and expanding port infrastructure to boost shipping. It will also support leading enterprises like Jinchuan Group and China National Offshore Oil Corporation LNG to promote the development of industrial clusters.

“The development of strategic connectivity networks for our ports has also led to the improvement of the Municipality’s internet and e-commerce activity.

“In order to promote the rapid development of ecology, Fangchenggang has spent approximately $500 million to resolve poverty problems in the Shiwan Mountain area;” the official said, adding that the city aims to strengthen its marine economy by coordinating the development of land and sea as well as gulfs and islands.

He pointed out that with the establishment of a high-speed rail from Fangchenggang city to Nanning, tourism and business has also started to flourish with more connectivity between the port city and other parts of China, in addition to cargo rail tracks.

To make the most of its location, the Guangxi Autonomous Region established the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone, which mainly consists of Guangxi’s capital Nanning, and the port cities of Beihai, Fangchenggang and Qinzhou.

Beibu Gulf ports are the nearest on the Chinese mainland to the Strait of Malacca – the most important trade route in the region – and also the closest entry to the sea for Southwest China’s inland region. This gives the area inherent advantages in linking the Asean countries along the Maritime Silk Road.