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Cover Stories Series 2014> Reform Initiatives Underway for 2015> Retrospect> Feature
UPDATED: December 1, 2014 NO. 49 DECEMBER 4, 2014
Spearheading Maritime Initiatives
Waterway connectivity and fishery cooperation drive Fuzhou's efforts to become a strategic hub along the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road
By Hou Weili

"[Fuzhou's ancient] foreign trade has left the city with valuable legacies and laid a foundation to respond to President Xi Jinping's initiative to establish the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road," Yang said.

According to the action plan, the Jiangyin Port will have 15 terminals by the end of 2015. As a world-class container port, it will then be able to handle 5 million TEUs every year.

Fuzhou's ports are playing a greater role in boosting the economy and attracting investment. Chemical manufacturing is becoming the pillar industry in the Jiangyin Port. Five chemical factories are under construction by companies such as China Petrochemical Corp. and Fujian Southeast Electrochemical. They signify an investment of 5.5 billion yuan ($895 million). When all the production lines are put into operation, the annual output will be worth 100 billion yuan ($16 billion).

Fishery cooperation

Fuzhou is reinforcing efforts to boost fishery cooperation with the countries along the Maritime Silk Road. Last year, its fishing industry's output was worth 90.46 billion yuan ($14.65 billion)—45 percent of Fujian's total, according to Chen Zhenguang, Deputy Director of Fuzhou Oceanic and Fishery Administration.

The focus is on cooperation in pelagic fishery, aquaculture and aquatic products processing. Fuzhou is a forerunner in pelagic fishery. Its fishing vessels have footprints in over 20 national exclusive economic zones across the world. According to Chen, Fuzhou's pelagic fishery segment boasted 15 companies and 395 vessels in 2013, contributing 227,900 tons, the largest yield in China. Fuzhou also built seven overseas pelagic fishery bases in Indonesia, Myanmar, Mauritania and Guinea-Bissau. "These are complexes with units for fishing, aquaculture, processing, cold chain logistics and vessel maintenance," Chen said.

Fuzhou businesses have built aquafarms in Indonesia and Thailand. "Although the farms are relatively small, they are promising. Our breeding techniques can be shared with locals in this way," he said.

On November 2, the China-ASEAN Seafood Exchange Center opened in Fuzhou, a key project to accelerate the city's development as a maritime hub. Jiang Xiong, President of the center, said it expects to see an annual trade volume of 2 million tons. "The win-win cooperation will reinforce China and ASEAN's position as an integrated power in the fishery industry internationally," Jiang said.

Mayor Yang highlighted the importance of improving fishery products' added value and transferring technology in the cooperation process. "We encourage Fuzhou businesses to invest in shipbuilding plants in countries along the road and share building technology," Yang said.

The private sector is joining forces. The China International Fair for Investment and Trade in Xiamen this September saw the establishment of the China-Africa Maritime Silk Road Investment Co. and the Maritime Silk Road Investment Fund Management Center on Langqi Island in Fuzhou.

Huang Jianhui, Manager of the center, said the company has a registered capital of 500 million yuan ($81.5 million). It plans to raise over 100 billion yuan as a capital pool to support projects in African countries along the Maritime Silk Road.

"It aims to establish an economic belt to revitalize the ancient trading corridor and become a modern passageway for trade and cultural exchanges between China and African countries," Huang said.

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