China’s exports gather speed despite Spring Festival

BEIJING: A large container ship measuring 366 meters in length is sailing into Yangshan Port, one of the busiest deep-water container ports in the world. Looking over the bow of the mammoth vessel, all the berths on the shore have been filled with huge cargo ships.

Over 850,000 TEUs of containers have been handled by the largest terminal at the port since this January, a record high for the period. During the Spring Festival, the port has continued to function nonstop to ensure a 24/7 operation.

From Yangshan Port to Yiwu International Trade City and numerous overseas warehouses, Chinese businesses are ramping up full operations to export goods, ranging from new energy vehicles and mobile phones to home appliances and other daily essentials, despite the Spring Festival holidays.

“We are expected to handle 30,000 TEUs of containers, and all of our 39 cranes have been put into use,” Chen Jianfeng, a manager of Shengdong Wharf, the biggest dock at Yangshan Port in Shanghai, told CMG. “Transfer volume of the wharf has increased by 15 to 20 percent compared to the same period last year,” Chen added.

A freight train loaded with photovoltaic modules heads for Hungarian capital Budapest from Yiwu City, east China's Zhejiang Province, November 21, 2023. /CFP

A freight train loaded with photovoltaic modules heads for Hungarian capital Budapest from Yiwu City, east China’s Zhejiang Province

The busy time for the holidays came against the backdrop of rising new export orders at the beginning of the year.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that in January, the new export order index stood at 47.2 percent, up 1.4 percent month on month, indicating an improvement in external market demand.

“This is the 10th consecutive year of us working despite the Spring Festival. This year is much busier,” said Feng Xubin, chairman of YXE Trading Service Group. The company is one of the leading Chinese rail freight operators and offers connections between China and European destinations, including the longest rail freight service in the world between Yiwu and Madrid.

“We plan to launch over 68 freight trains from Chinese New Year’s Eve to the seventh day of the holiday,” Feng said, adding that the volume of high-tech and high-value-added products is increasing.

Yiwu’s foreign trade exports reached a peak during the Spring Festival, and there was no cargo backlog or truck congestion at Yiwu railway port ahead of the holidays, according to local customs.

Official data shows that an average of 30 China-Europe freight trains depart from China every day. And more than 1,800 freight trains have been launched between China and Europe since the beginning of this year. So far, China-Europe freight railways, major trade corridors between the Eurasian continents, have connected 112 cities in China and covered 219 cities in 25 European countries.

A worker at Alibaba's warehouse in New Jersey, U.S. receives an interview by China Media Group. /Screenshot from CMG

A worker at Alibaba’s warehouse in New Jersey, U.S. receives an interview by China Media Group

Raising overseas demand and highly efficient infrastructure has boosted the further development of China’s global supply chains.

Data from the Ministry of Commerce show Chinese companies have set up more than 1,800 warehouses in over 220 countries and regions, which enable Chinese products to be delivered efficiently. So far, China has over 645,000 foreign trade companies, among which over 100,000 are cross-border e-commerce entities.

A worker at Alibaba’s warehouse in New Jersey, U.S. told CMG that the depot had received a batch of furniture containers from south China’s Guangdong Province during the Spring Festival, adding the warehouse delivery range covers 15 U.S. states and some consumers can receive goods on the day they place their order.

“The construction of foreign trade infrastructure such as overseas warehouses has overcome the last barrier of cross-border e-commerce,” said Yuan Shenglong, a researcher at the Academy of Macroeconomics under the National Development and Reform Commission.

He added that the new supply chain system will not only provide overseas consumers with a more convenient shopping experience but increase Chinese products’ global competitiveness.

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