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2017-06-08
Baoshan seeks to revive Zheng He’s glory
Source:       Author:       Public Time: 2017-06-08

 

The Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal

 


Shanghai CSSC International Cruise Industrial Park

 

(From left) Fabrizio Ferri, CEO of Fincantieri China; Chen Qi, deputy general manager with China State Shipbuilding Corp; and Su Ping, vice director of Baoshan District, sign the letter of intent to develop Shanghai CSSC International Cruise Industrial Park in Baoshan on Wednesday.

 

BAOSHAN District, from which the renowned Chinese explorer and diplomat Zheng He (AD 1371-1433) set off his expeditionary voyages in 1405, now wants to become a maritime Silk Road gateway with its cruise industry.

China’s plans for the Belt and Road initiative to connect Asia with Europe and Africa have inspired new ambitions in Baoshan, in north of Shanghai.

 

It is developing a world class cruise terminal and a major industrial park for cruise liners and construction at the Wusongkou port at the mouth of the Yangtze River.

 

Not far from the port, the envoy of the Emperor of the Ming Dynasty (AD 1368-1644) sent Chinese silk, porcelain and tea to South Asia, East Africa and Europe with his expeditionary fleet.

 

Centuries after Zheng, the district government plan is for the “Maritime Silk Road in the 21st century” to con­nect Chinese ports with European and Mediterranean destinations through the South China Sea and Indian Ocean.

The Belt and Road nations will become the largest destinations of China’s cruise liner market, and dramatically drive the development of the industry, the district government said.

 

“China is set to become the world’s largest cruise travel market in a decade. The international cruise economy is en­tering the ‘China era’,” says Wang Hong, the Party secretary of Baoshan District and director general of Shanghai Inter­national Cruise Business Institute.

 

The “China era” not only means beds and tours, but also to move up the chain and build China’s first liner.

 

The China State Shipbuilding Corp, the nation’s largest shipbuilder signed a letter of intent on Wednesday with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and the Baoshan District to develop Shanghai CSSC International Cruise Industrial Park in Baoshan.

 

Fincantieri and CSSC will promote the park in their supply chain network and attract companies to participate in the shipbuilding project.

 

As the technical leader on the cruise shipbuilding industry, Fincantieri have full confidence and ambition on the cooperative project, Fabrizio Ferri, CEO of Fincantieri China, said.

 

“Fincantieri will bring its international suppliers to the industrial park along with personnel to support the project,” Ferri said.

 

He said suppliers are key to the suc­cess of the cruise building project.

 

The LOI is in accord with a previous memorandum of agreement finalized in February at a ceremony in Beijing, at­tended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

 

The Baoshan District and Fincantieri and CSSC will create the industrial park to serve the cruise industry, as well as drive China’s development on ship­building and maritime engineering, the district government said at the “Belt and Road Cruise Economy Development Workshop” on Wednesday.

 

More than 300 executives of the world’s major cruise lines, government officials and cruise industry stakehold­ers attended the forum organized by the district government and the Shanghai Tourism Administration.

 

“The district government will offer preferential policies on industry and commerce procedures, exit and entry as services to attract outstanding com­panies on cruise-related industries to the park,” said Wang Younong, chairman of the board of the Wusongkou Cruise Terminal.

 

“The registered enterprises in the new park could also be part of the master plan of Fincantieri and CSSC to offer ser­vices to China’s domestically developed cruise liner,” Wang said.

 

According to the MOA inked in Bei­jing, a joint venture between Carnival, Fincantieri and CSSC will see two new vessels built in China, with options for an additional four.

 

Carnival will operate and manage the ships as part of its plans to launch a new Chinese cruise brand.

 

The first of China’s domestically-developed vessels is expected to be delivered in 2023, Wu Qiang, president of the CSSC, said.

 

“Cruise lines are deemed as the ‘pearl on the crown’ of the shipbuilding indus­try,” Wu told the forum. “It is the best time for China to build its own cruise liner, although there are many challenges.”

 

The Belt and Road Initiative provides new opportunities, drive and space for the development of China’s cruise indus­try, says Party secretary Wang.

 

“Baoshan will definitely grab the op­portunity to expand its cruise industry to the full industrial chain,” she added.

 

China’s cruise industry started in 2006 when Costa Allegra became the first holiday cruise to dock at Shang­hai Port International Cruise Terminal. That year Shanghai received 59 inter­national cruises and more than 80,000 passengers.

 

The number surged to 471 ships and 2.8 million passengers last year, a 85 percent increase on year, making Wusongkou terminal the biggest home­port for cruise liners in Asia. It has also surpassed Barcelona to become the world’s fourth largest in 2016.

 

The Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal is under further expansion to have an additional 380-meter-long dock and a 446-meter-long dock built along the Yangtze River together with the two new terminal buildings by the end of the year, said Wang Younong.

 

On completion, two 150,000-ton and two 230,000-ton cruise liners will be able to berth at the port simultaneous­ly. The port, opened in October 2011, can now serve two cruise liners at the same time.