Shekou port in Shenzhen is one of the main fruit import cities in south China. The port mainly receives Asian goods such as dragon fruit, bananas, coconuts, longyans, pineapple, and mangosteen. The volume of Western products directly delivered to Shekou port is not that large yet. However the Chilean cherry season is about to start and the port is currently in business negotiations with shipping companies to arrange the direct delivery of cherries from Chile to Shekou.
According to Mr. Chen Baiqi, vice-director of the Department of Commerce at Shekou port, the main destination for direct delivery by 'fast ships' is Hong Kong. Fruit takes about 21 days from production areas in Chile to Hong Kong. Importers take the fruit from the port via overland routes to different destinations within China.
Importers have developed this routine over the years, and in addition, they assume that the so-called "free-trade port" in Hong Kong will process incoming cargo quicker than an inland port. However, inland ports such as Shekou have developed and improved customs procedures over the years and perfected their facilities to deliver highly efficient services. This should make importers think twice when they select their port of choice.
First, Shekou port introduced a preliminary inspection system in August of 2018, which greatly increased the speed of processing incoming cargo. Companies provide the customs office with a filled out form and the shipping containers can be delivered directly to the processing facilities. Customs agents check to see if the shipping containers meet the required standards, while the company provides additional information and handles tax payments. This procedure allows for shipping containers to be released from custody within an hour of arrival. There is no discernible difference in processing time between Shekou and Hong Kong. However, cargo from Hong Kong has to pass through customs before being allowed into mainland China, while an inland port such as Shekou has no such obstacle, which makes it a more convenient choice.
Second, the fees are lower. The processing cost of one shipping container is 1,080 yuan [160.83 USD] for a cold storage container and 580 yuan [86.37 USD] for a regular shipping container. The cost of transport between the port and Guangzhou Jiangnan Market is around 2,500 yuan [372.30 USD] per truck. A quick comparison shows that the processing cost of similar shipping containers in Shekou is about 200-250 USD lower than in Hong Kong.
Third, Shekou port has 106 inspection docks for refrigerated containers and 3,124 charging stations for refrigerated containers. The import volume of fruit that passes through Shekou grows every year, and so does the variety of fruit that passes through Shekou. The port also has duty-free districts within the port to provide more suitable services for import companies. There are 7 refrigerated warehouses in the duty-free districts. E-commerce shops can store their import fruit products in refrigerated warehouses in duty-free districts, and directly deliver to customers once they receive the orders.
"We hope to show more import companies the advantages of doing business in Shekou port. We are currently in negotiation with several import and export companies to improve services and lower the cost price, so that we can deliver the best possible services to our clients," said Mr. Chen.
For more information:
Mr. Chen Baiqi - Vice-director
Management Center for Port (Huanan) Investments
Tel.: +86 13268164869