Inside a workshop, workers rush to fill production orders. [Photo by Xu Neng]
By Dong Na
In the first quarter of this year, Ningbo's total foreign trade imports and exports increased by 17% compared with the same period last year, reaching 304.44 billion yuan and composing of an export of 195.63 billion yuan, up by 20.4%, and an import of 108.81 billion yuan, which grew by 11.4%.
It is worth noting that, as the main driver for foreign trade, private enterprises completed 214 billion yuan of imports and exports, an increase of 18%, accounting for 70.3% of the city's total during the same period.
Positive Growth in Several Areas
The EU, United States, and ASEAN are Ningbo's top three trading partners. In the first quarter, Ningbo's imports and exports total to the EU, United States, and ASEAN was 56.55 billion yuan, 53.55 billion yuan and 32.41 billion yuan, an increase of 25.1%, 21.8% and 15% respectively, while the three together accounted for 46.8% of the city's aggregate foreign trade in the same period.
In addition, statistics from the same period also showed that, Ningbo's import and export to countries along the "Belt and Road" was 85.81 billion yuan, an increase of 21.1%, accounting for 28.2% of the overall volume in Ningbo; import and export to other RCEP member countries was 75.72 billion yuan, an increase of 4.7%, accounting for 24.9% of the total.
Electrical and mechanical products were the main export commodities from Ningbo in the first quarter, with a total of 112.62 billion yuan of exports, an increase of 20.8%, accounting for 57.6% of the city's total exports. During the same period, exports of high-tech products were 15.23 billion yuan, an increase of 26.9%; and exports of textiles and clothing 23.17 billion yuan, an increase of 11.8%.
As for imports, Ningbo received 3.96 billion yuan of refined oil in the first quarter, an increase of 254.1%, and 1.89 billion yuan of natural gas, an increase of 128.2%.
Trade with CEEC Hit A Record
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the China-CEE Countries Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Zone in Ningbo. In the first quarter of 2022, Ningbo's import and export volume with the CEE countries reached 10.7 billion yuan, up 25.85% year-on-year, a new quarterly high.
"We have many trading partners from the CEE countries, and just recently we imported a batch of electrolytic copper from Poland," said the staff of Ningbo Tiyi Import and Export Trade.
The CEE countries are home to a variety of rich metal deposits, and they top the world's record of the reserves of quite a couple of metal ore categories. These resource endowments are complementary to China's development needs. With help from the China-CEE Countries Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Zone, several companies in Ningbo have become big customers in the copper market of CEE countries.
Unwrought copper and copper material has been the main product imported by Ningbo from the CEE countries. In the first quarter of this year, Ningbo's imports under that category from the CEE countries amounted to 580 million yuan, a significant increase of 143.08% year-on-year.
That is only one example of the trade partnership. Some foreign trade enterprises in Ningbo have become long-term partners of many large supermarket chains abroad. "Since last year, we have seen a significant increase in business volume, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, where business orders have been scheduled for two years," the head of a company said.
New Breakthrough in Port Throughput
In the first quarter of this year, Ningbo Zhoushan Port completed 303 million tons of cargo throughput, up 3.4% year-on-year; completed container throughput of 7.91 million TEUs, up 2.9% year-on-year.
Since the beginning of the year, Ningbo Zhoushan Port has opened many new ocean-going trunk routes to Europe and South America. Currently, the port operates a total of 296 container routes, which is a new record high.
In the meantime, Ningbo Zhoushan Port continues to develop key regions and customers, effectively improve the shipping capacity of inland sites, ensure the stable operation of key trains, and open new sea-rail intermodal transport. In the first quarter, the business volume of sea-rail intermodal transport was 357,800 TEU, an increase of 33.9% year-on-year.
Port infrastructure construction is being accelerated. Since this year, a number of berths in Chuanshan port area, Meishan port area, and Beilun port area have been opened to the public. At present, the maximum container terminal in Ningbo Zhoushan Port can arrange 140 road personnel to operate at the same time, and the maximum daily loading and unloading capacity exceeds 100,000 TEUs.
In response to the epidemic impacts, the Ningbo Zhoushan Port has also established a risk research and assessment mechanism for foreign vessels, promoted an intelligent epidemic prevention system, constructed a container truck reservation system, and put into use an automatic face recognition system to help enhance safe operation in the port.