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Statistics shows that there are 120 ports above designated size for grain transport in China, with coastal ports and inland ports taking up half and half (annual throughput of 10 million tons for coastal ports and 2 million tons for inland ports). In recent years, China's grain throughput by waterway transport is about 90 million to 100 million tons, approximately equal to that by rail traffic, in which inland river transport accounts for about 18% and domestic trade for 58%. Waterway transport of grain is usually by ocean shipping for domestic trade. With an increase in inbound and outbound volume, 15% of grain for domestic trade is transferred through water to water transport. As grain import sees a rapid rise, the difference between inbound and outbound volume is expanding year by year.

Iron Ore

China is the world's largest consumer of iron ore. The import volume of iron ore ranks top among all China’s foreign traded cargo and its handling volume in Chinese ports is only second to that of coal. The ore carriers are super-size vessels and imported iron ore must be transshipped to reach the steel terminal. Some iron ores are transported by railway after unloading in the port. As of 2008, there are 32 ore terminals with a capacity of 100,000 tons each or more in China. In Bohai Rim, Dalian, Yingkou, Tangshan, Tianjin, Qingdao and Rizhao are main iron ore handling ports while Qinhuangdao, Yantai, Jinzhou play a supportive role. In Yangtze River Delta, the transport network for imported ores is made up of Ningbo-Zhoushan, Shanghai as well as river ports such as Nanjing, Zhenjiang, Nantong, Zhangjiagang, etc. Along south coast of China, specialized terminals in Zhanjiang and Fangcheng Port are the major force and the bulk cargo terminals in Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Guangzhou are necessary complement to iron ore handling. The terminals of more than 100,000 tons handle 90% imported iron ores.

Steel product

Steel is one of the most common materials in the world, with more than 1.3 billion tons produced annually. It is a major component in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, automobiles, machines, appliances, and weapons. Steel products can be classified as follows: powder metallurgy products, castings, forged finished and stamped finished products, bright products, cold formed products, welded sections, wire, tubes, hollow sections and hollow bars.


The waterway transport of coal in China includes inland river transport and ocean transport. Coal is transported from production base to ports along China’s north coast by road or railway, from where the cargo is shipped again to Bohai Rim, East China, South China and abroad. Inland coal transport channels are Yangtze River and Beijing-Hangzhou Canal, carrying coal from Shanxi, Hebei, Henan, Anhui and Jiangsu Province to consumers along the major rivers and in East China. Coal from Shanxi and Inner Mongolia is shipped in Tianjin and Qinhuangdao Port, coal from Shaanxi shipped in Tianjin and Huanghua Port and coal from Shandong shipped in Rizhao Port. 97.78% coal for China’s foreign trade and 82.30% coal for domestic trade is transported in seven ports in North China, 94.7% of which is handled in Qinhuangdao, Tianjin, Huanghua and Tangshan Port. For coal volume of 165, 72 million tons traded within China, the unloading volume in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong is 146, 80 tons, taking up 88.5%. The coal unloaded in Shanghai, Jiangsu and Guangdong with a volume of more than 1 million tons usually comes from five different ports. The coal unloaded in Zhejiang mainly comes from Qinhuangdao and Tianjin Port while that unloaded in Fujian from Qinhuangdao, Tianjin and Huanghua Port.

Crude oil

China is the main producer of crude oil as well as large consumer and importer. With a rapid economic development and industrial upgrading, consumption structure, especially energy consumption structure is changing dramatically. As a result, China is seeing an increasing dependence on crude oil. In China, the transport modes for crude oil consist of road, railway, waterway and pipeline, which is decided by the location of crude oil, transport distance and volume. China’s port production is enjoying a high-speed growth. The crude oil and oil product ranks forth in handling volume of all bulk cargo, inferior to coal, iron ore and mineral building material in China. In 2007, the total handling volume of crude oil in Chinese ports is 484, 8 million tons.

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