Since May 2013, the State Council has canceled approvals on international shipping agency services, and replaced them with a filing management system for Chinese-funded shipping agent enterprises.
Data shows that China’s shipping agency market had a rising number of enterprises and declining agent fees after the reform. By January 2017, the total number of shipping agent enterprises had reached 2,235, which is 534 more than last year.
Currently, the filing process takes only one week after an enterprise obtains the business license, and operation qualification certificates are no longer required.
“It is much more convenient than before, and we do not have to go to different departments to get things done,” said a director from a shipping agent enterprise.
“We hope the reform can help shipping agent enterprises, especially small ones, and bring sufficient competition into the market,” said an official from the Ministry of Transport.
In addition, agent fees are also declining annually in a fully competitive market, playing a positive role in foreign trade.
Before the reform, Chinese-funded shipping agent enterprises had to go through the approval process, which slowed down their expansion across the nation, and increased operational costs.
“The cancellation of administrative approvals can save time and expenses, allowing enterprises to pay more attention to service quality,” said an official from the China Association of Shipping Agencies & Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carriers.
According to an official from the Ministry of Transport, the reform will build a more fair environment for the industry, and the ministry will continue its efforts to maintain market order in shipping agency services.