WASHINGTON: A measure aimed at combatting Beijing’s pollution problem has led to a dramatic drop in coal and steel throughput at the Port of Tianjin as traders and shippers have been forced to divert cargoes to its northern rivals. In the first half of the year, coal handling at the port fell by 24%, steel throughput decreased by 27% and metal ore also handling fell, while non-containerised business made up just 12% of interim revenue.
The port was the was the only one to report lower throughput and volumes of coal and metal ores in H1, Reuters said. The figures come in light of a ban on using trucks at the port to transport coal, which was put into force in March this year. Rail must now be used to deliver coal to the port for long-distance transportation, something which has negatively impacted the port’s non-containerised coal trade, according to Tianjin Port Development Holdings. An analysis of results by five major ports operating in the Bohai Rim region, the economic region surrounding Beijing and Tianjin, has shown that traders and shippers have therefore had to divert cargoes to the Port of Tianjin’s rivals such as Tangshan Port Group, which is 100 kilometres to the north, and Qinhuangdao Port Company. Both are in Hebei province.
The Port of Qinhuangdao has reported an increase of as much as a quarter in coal and metal ore cargoes, the biggest rise among the five ports. In response to the more stringent environmental and safety policies, as well as competition, the Port of Tianjin said it plans to hasten efforts to develop its container business, expand its logistics business and create a one-stop logistics service, among other measures, according to Reuters. However, the Port of Tangshan said that the environmental clampdown could have a negative effect on coal volumes for the whole port industry, the news agency reported. Beijing has said it may widen the Tianjin truck ban to Hebei province ports.