The Ministry of Communications has issued a plan that highlights supporting Hainan to fully open up its international shipping business to promote the in-depth reform and opening-up of the tropical island’s transportation industry.
Drafted to serve the implementation of the blueprints of the central authorities to build Hainan island into a pilot free trade zone and gradually build it into a free trade port with Chinese characteristics, the plan said the current 51 percent investment limit set for international shipping agencies that register in Hainan will be canceled and foreign investors can establish companies of their own or set up joint ventures without any ceiling to run international shipping business and relevant services.
The ministry’s package program includes the replication of all relevant pilot policies adopted in the country’s 11 pilot free trade zones in extending the opening-up of international shipping, opening-up the ship registration system, preferential policies on taxation and the establishment of a shipping trade center in Hainan which will help the island explore innovative services such as shipping futures, trading of shipping price index derivatives, and create an internationally influential Belt and Road transportation price index system.
The plan also seeks the integrated development of the transportation networks between Hainan free trade area and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
The plan aims at speeding up the construction of a sea rescue base in the South China Sea to help Hainan establish an efficient maritime emergency rescue organization and command system, and training a large number of sea rescue personnel as maritime security forces, which will play an important role in eliminating dangers for shipping in the South China Sea.
Weak shipping development and a shortage of port infrastructure is a bottleneck for Hainan. The ministry’s new plan will help Hainan enhance infrastructure construction, develop world-class shipping companies and introduce large domestic and foreign enterprises to help the island develop international shipping routes to overcome the bottleneck, according to Lin Dong, director of Hainan province department of communications.