South China’s Hainan speeds up construction of free trade port

Photo taken on August 29 shows the scenery of the phase-one project of a traffic project of the Haikou Bay in Hainan Province. Photo by Shi Zhonghua/People’s Daily Online

On August 30, tanker Yuan Dong Hai of China COSCO Shipping Energy Transportation Co., Ltd. got its certificate of nationality from the port of Yangpu in South China’s Hainan Province as soon as it was delivered, thanks to the efforts of the province to promote institutional innovations in the construction of a free trade port with Chinese characteristics.


With a maximum loading capacity of 150,000 tons, Yuan Dong Hai made the port of Yangpu one of the ports that have large vessels with a loading capacity of over 100,000 tons.


“We didn’t even actually go to the port of Yangpu to go through the formalities for the certificate, yet we received the first certificate of nationality issued by the port of Yangpu in three workdays,” said Dong Yuhang, deputy general manager of COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers Co., Ltd.


The Hainan free trade port has adopted more open shipping policies, which allow domestic ships engaging in transport of goods for both domestic and foreign trade with the port of Yangpu as a transit port to replenish bonded oil for the voyage, according to Dong.


“A cargo ship with slots for 5,400 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers on the route from Jinzhou, Northeast China’s Liaoning Province to the port of Yangpu is allowed to replenish 553 tons of bonded oil, which means it can save about 600,000 yuan ($ 87,600) in a single trip,” Dong noted.


As of August, the working committee of Hainan free trade port had rolled out 85 programs targeting institutional innovations in areas including business system reforms, talent cultivation, as well as international trade and economy.


“Three cargo ships registered at the port of Yangpu within three months, during which the shipping routes of the port for domestic and foreign trade increased from 22 to 31 and the monthly container handling capacity of the port surpassed 100,000 TEUs,” said Zhou Junping, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) committee at the working committee of Yangpu Economic Development Zone.


All these are gratifying changes brought about by the construction of the Hainan free trade port, Zhou added.


In addition to boosting institutional innovations, Hainan has also made unswerving efforts to safeguard the red line for ecological conservation during the construction of the Hainan free trade port.


One month after the release of the master plan for the Hainan free trade port, Hainan Province set up ten supervision and inspection teams and sent them to various cities and counties of the province for a 100-day supervision and inspection operation for ecological and environmental protection.


From the end of July to mid-August, officials of the Hainan provincial government supervised and inspected relevant tasks in cities and counties, aiming to go all out to resolve the tough issues in ecological governance.


Because of these efforts, the long-standing problems troubling the management of the Xiaohai Lagoon and Laoyehai Lagoon in Hainan’s Wanning city started to be solved step by step. Besides ecological rehabilitation and tail water treatment, the city has also accelerated the formulation of maricultural plans and improvement in infrastructure in the surrounding areas.


Lingshui Li autonomous county in Hainan province has started to remove the fish breeding rafts, fishing nets, and fixed nets in the lagoons of Xincun township of the county, cleaning 21.97 square kilometers of sea areas.


At present, Hainan province is ramping up efforts to draw a red line for ecological protection and the bottom line for environment quality, define the upper limit on utilization of resources, and make a list for environment access, trying to release relevant results and put them into practice by the end of the year.


The province is also integrating the aspirations and needs of the people into the construction of the Hainan free trade port.


During this summer vacation, a family inn adjacent to the mangrove wetland in Dongzhai harbor and Meilan International Airport has been packed with tourists.


Huang Yang, manager of the hotel, was a villager of Shanweitou village, Yanfeng township, Meilan district, Haikou, capital of Hainan Province.


Since February, business of Huang’s family inn has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just when staff members of the hotel were at loose ends, the local government rolled out favorable policies on offering a 50 percent tax cut for hotels and holding free online training courses for employees of hotels.


The training, which advocates learning in slack season and working in peak season, is one of the 85 programs of institutional innovations launched during the construction of the Hainan free trade port.


In fact, Hainan Province has been providing degree courses and vocational training for tourism practitioners since 2019. This year, the number of participants in the training has grown from 3,000 to 5,000.


Thanks to the timely policies, Huang’s family inn didn’t just survived, but sees new prospects, as the province’s new policy on offshore duty-free shopping has significantly boosted business of the hotels and rural tourism routes near Meilan International Airport. Shanweitou village has been a popular destination for visitors attracted by the duty-free shopping policy.


Hainan Province is now making all-out efforts to enhance its infrastructure for fiber optic networks, power grids, road network, gas pipelines, and water supply systems.


On April 13, comprehensive construction of the key projects of the Hainan free trade port kicked off, with projects concerning infrastructure construction and public service facilities for improving people’s livelihoods accounting for 70 percent of these key projects.


Water conservancy projects of the province have prepared the province well in coping with the drought that lasted for two month in this year.


Grasping the opportunities generated by the construction of the Hainan free trade port, the province has taken multiple measures to improve education and medical services.


So far, the province has introduced 102 schools and more than 40 hospitals, allowing students to go to schools near home and residents receive treatment for major and serious diseases without leaving the province.


Hainan is optimizing its economic structure, in a bid to consolidate the foundation for improving people’s livelihood through promoting economic development.


The province had seen its volume of fixed-asset investment grow by 5.6 percent year on year during the first seven months this year, when investment in areas other than real estate became the main driving force for the growth in fixed-asset investment, and 75 percent of the economic growth in the province was contributed by the tertiary industry.

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