Smart port epitomizes vitality of China’s Greater Bay Area

Containers are piled up at Nansha Port in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, in April, 2022. [Photo/China News Service]
GUANGZHOU — The clamor one would typically expect to see at a busy port is distinctly absent in the new automated container terminal of Nansha Port in south China’s Guangdong Province. It is the newest smart port in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Nansha Port, a major part of Guangzhou Port, built container terminals in four phases, handling over 18 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2022. The automated container terminal, Nansha Port’s fourth-phase project, has a designed handling capacity of 4.9 million TEUs.
No workers can be seen on site as colossal bridge cranes precisely locate and lift containers from huge docked freighters, moving them efficiently to automated vehicles.
The fully automated port has various functions, including smart vehicle dispatch, automated loading and unloading, driverless transport and intelligent tallying, said Song Xiaoming, deputy general manager of Guangzhou Port Group.
Intelligent management covers the whole process of production at the terminal. Advance information processing helps realize a seamless connection when cargo arrives, largely improving the efficiency of the port, Song added.
With its state-of-the-art design and technology, Nansha Port is an example of high-quality smart and automated transformation, and it epitomizes the Greater Bay Area’s development vitality.
The province’s development and reform commission has urged efforts to boost the development of industrial clusters, promote traditional and new consumption, and build an international consumption hub in the Greater Bay Area.
Guangdong’s commerce department has revealed that the province saw exports increase 5.4 percent year on year in the first four months of 2023, with new energy vehicles (NEVs), lithium batteries and solar cells seeing outstanding performances.
The data on Nansha Port’s operations is also satisfying. In 2022, the volume of cold-chain cargo imported via the port exceeded 20 billion yuan (about $2.8 billion), surging over 70 percent year-on-year.
Imported durians have flooded into China through the port. By the end of May this year, over 5,700 TEUs of durians had been imported via Nansha Port.
It takes four days for fresh Thai durians to arrive at Nansha Port, and only 1.5 hours to unload and transport them to the largest fruit wholesale market in south China, said Chen Xi, deputy director of Nansha customs.
This speed meets the requirements of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, which is now in effect for all 15 members.
Under the agreement, specific goods are entitled to tariff reductions and exemptions. In 2022, over 60 million yuan in tariffs was deducted or exempted from cargo declared at Nansha Port worth a total of 4.2 billion yuan, Chen said.
The port has opened over 150 international freighter routes and its railway station has started handling China-Europe and China-Asia freight trains. With the full implementation of the RCEP, more routes will be explored to connect the Greater Bay Area with the world to strengthen foreign trade, Song said.

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