Maritime industry strengthens Qingdao's int'l status

by Chen Ziqi China Plus Published: 2018-05-28 17:25:31
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Reporter: Chen Ziqi; narrated by Ken Smith

Qingdao is capital of Shandong province on the east coast of China, also the largest city in its province. [Photo: from VCG]

Qingdao is the largest city in Shandong province on the east coast of China. [Photo: from VCG]

The 21st Century is marked the era of ocean. The Chinese government has declared this to be a time of sea-land integration and has highlighted projects to develop maritime power. 

Qingdao is actively following the central government's guidelines to spur maritime industrial growth that suits the region's growth.  

It has been adopting updated technology and forming new industrial models to improve production efficiency of its maritime primary industry. Qingdao's maritime primary industries, like fishery and offshore farming, experienced an increase of nearly 11 billion yuan in financial growth. Take aquafarm for example, Qingdao has invested 770 million yuan in constructing 11 aquafarms across the city, achieving a win-win results in the ecosystem and economic growth.

A bird's-eye view of aquafarm in Qingdao.  [Photo: from IC]

A bird's-eye view of the aquafarm in Qingdao [Photo: from IC]

Zhang Libin is an associate researcher from the Maritime Ecosystem and Environment Laboratory of the Chinese Academic of Sciences. He explains how to improve the economic structure of the maritime primary industry.

"We are promoting a project to build a platform by composing of various sectors, like fishermen, companies, industrial organizations and research centers, in a bid to share the latest scientific achievements. By doing so, we also can develop a new model, which is beneficial to maintain sustainable development of aquafarm, stimulate maritime or regional economic growth and increase income of farmers. "

To increase the productivity of aquafarms, the National Qingdao Marine Biological Industrial Base has carried out over 110 international programs. As a result, the production of the first harvest of offshore rice invented by Yuan Longping, father of hybrid rice in China, reached 415 kilograms per hectare.

China's unmanned submersible Hailong was getting ready for a deep water test aboard its mother vessel Dayang Yihao, on April 4,2018.[Photo: from Xinhua]

China's unmanned submersible Hailong was getting ready for a deep water test aboard its mother vessel Dayang Yihao, on April 4,2018.[Photo: from news.cn]

Ocean equipment manufacturing is another important component of Qingdao's maritime economy, which generated over 51 billion yuan in 2017, contributing 18 percent of the city's overall maritime economy.

Successful operations of homemade submersibles like Jiaolong, Hailong and Qianlong, attracted attention from abroad. They are invented by the National Deep Sea Center, China's first deep ocean scientific research center and the world's fifth deep sea technology support base. These three submersibles are named after different types of mythical water dragon, and each has its specialty. 

Technic members of the Qianglong III were checking the condition of the unmanned submersible before its dive on April 19, 2018.[Photo: from Xinhua]

Engineers were checking the condition of the unmanned submersible Qianglong III before its dive on April 19, 2018. [Photo: from Xinhua]

Manned submersible Qiaolong has accomplished 158 dives, with a record of 7062 meters. It has successfully finished its trial operation and will perform its first mission soon. Unmanned submersible Hailong III completed its first deep sea test in the western Pacific Ocean on March 25, and it is able to dive to a depth of 4000 meters. Unmanned and wireless submersible Qianglong can be operated at a depth of 6000 meters. 

China’s manned submersible Jiaolong surfaces after its dive in Yap Trench, June 9,2017. [Photo: from Xinhua]

China’s manned submersible Jiaolong surfaces after its dive in Yap Trench, June 9,2017. [Photo: from Xinhua]

Submersible Jiaolong's new mother vessel Deep Sea No. 1 is currently under construction, undertaken by the China Shipbuilding Industry Co. Ltd. It is estimated that it will start its first manned global scientific expedition in 2020.

Yu Hongjun is director from the administration department of the National Deep Sea Center. He says that the triumphant operations of domestic submersibles are examples of China design capabilities in deep sea equipment.

"Our plan is that after the mother vessel Deep Sea No.1 set off from harbor, submersible Jiaolong, Hailong and Qianlong will jointly accomplish this mission. In this way, efficiency and competitiveness will be considerably improved."

The largest ever ore carrier [Photo: from IC]

The largest ever ore carrier made by a Qingdao-based subsidiary corporation [Photo: from IC]

In March, a Qingdao-based subsidiary corporation of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation built the largest ever ore carrier in the world. It only takes 16 hours to load 400,000 tons of ore. Chen Jing is general manger of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation. He highlighted the importance of this advanced vessel.

"This ore carrier can ensure the safety of our country's transport and resources. In the next 25 years or even longer, it will play a crucial role in ore transportation by sea."

The largest floating crane in China, with 3600 tons lifting capacity and 110 meters climbing frame [Photo: from IC]

The largest floating crane in China, with 3600 tons lifting capacity and 110 meters climbing frame [Photo: from IC]

Qingdao's deep ocean manufacturer Haixi Heavy-Duty Machinery Co., Ltd made the largest floating crane in China, with 3600 tons lifting capacity and 110 meters climbing frame. Qingdao has become the fourth qualified manufacturer of ballast water management system in the world, and was approved by the United States Coast Guard on June 6, 2017.

To maintain high standard of deep sea equipment and establish a brand of Made in China, in early March, China established its first ocean equipment supervisory and examination center in Qingdao.

According to the Fifth National Technology Predict conducted in 2016, Qingdao made nearly 45 percent contributions to the nation's maritime technology industry. The National Maritime Innovation Index Report 2016 indicates that the input-output ratio of Qingdao's maritime technology industry amounted to 0.835 on average, ranked at the top nationwide, followed by Xiamen, Dalian and Hangzhou. Wang Fan is the director of the Ocean Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

"We summoned 10 exploration ships from various branch institutions of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, managed by one unified system. The footprint of these vessels arranged from Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and Pacific Ocean to Indian Ocean. It is significant achievements for Shandong province, which means that sufficient resources of science and technology are allocated in Qingdao. It is definitely beneficial to strengthen the status of Shandong province in this domain."

Lab of the Global Genomics Research [Photo: from Global Genomics Research's website]

Lab of the Global Genomics Research [Photo: from Global Genomics Research's website]

Apart from transforming the traditional marine industry and providing high quality ocean equipment, Qingdao is discovering the genetic secrets of marine species. In the Global Genomics Research, located in the Qingdao Sino German Ecopark, 12 DNA sequencers are operating nonstop to determine the order of DNA samples. Researchers are carefully observing each procedure. Many genetic secrets of maritime species will be unveiled there. 

The Global Genomics Research is developing a national database of maritime species' genes. Data will be gradually utilized in aquatic product industries and medical tests. Liu Junnian is vice president of the Global Genomics Research, and he explains why they are establishing this extensive database.

"The reason for us to build this genetic database is that we hope in the next five to ten years, we can decode genes of more than 20,000 kinds of maritime species' and build the largest genetic database for maritime species in the world. In the next two years, we plan to decode genetic structure of about 140 kinds of maritime mammals, and then we will carry out research in the related fields, like diversity of genes of maritime species."

[Photo: from VCG]

[Photo: from VCG]

Meanwhile, Qingdao is actively bolstering its image as a marine tourism city. In 2016, the city received roughly 881 million tourists, generating 165 billion yuan, amounting to nearly 18 percent of the city's maritime economy. Qingdao has been listed as one of the key cities for cruise tourism by the Chinese State Council. 

At present, hundreds of cruise ships set off from Qingdao annually, catering to 150,000 tourists. It is estimated that one cruise ship is able to serve 10,000 tourists. Normally they spend 10 hours in exploring the city, and their consumption contributes $3 million to the local economy. Liu Min is general manager of the Qingdao International Cruise Co,. Ltd.

"We consider cruise tour as a new emerging sector of China's tourism industry. It will have positive influences on the market, regional development, customs, transportation and even the way of spending holiday. We just discover this trend and push the development to the further level. I believe Qingdao's cruise tourism will benefit local people and the people living in the city that cruise stops by."

China also has established the first China Cruise Tourist Development Experiential Zone in Qingdao, with an area of 4.1 square kilometers and investment of over 100 billion yuan. Ma Jishi is the vice director of the Qingdao International Cruise Port Administration.

"We want to speed up the process of building the cruise tourist experimental zone. We are trying our best to transform the Qingdao International Cruise Port to become a symbolic cruise port in the northern and east-northern China."

An international sailing competition was held in Qingdao in April 2017. [Photo: from IC]

An international sailing competition was held in Qingdao in April 2017.  [Photo: from IC]

Thanks to the advantageous geographic location and modern facilities, Qingdao has become a key city to host international sailboat tournaments in past decades, like the Sailing World Cup, Volvo Ocean Race, Extreme Sailing Series and Clipper Round the World Race.

This March marked the seventh year for Qingdao to hold the Clipper Round the World Race. In three consecutive seasons, 11 cruise ships visited Qingdao during the Clipper Round the World Race, each with a length of 70-feet, showing that the cruise ships manufactured by Qingdao has met the requirement of international sailing competitions. Zang Aimin is vice president of the Qingdao Council for Promotion of the Development of Olympic Sailing City.

"Holding sailboat competition is a factor that stimulates local economic growth and social development, as well as helping improve urban civilization and the host city′ reputation from home and abroad."

[Photo: from VCG]

[Photo: from VCG]

The Clipper Round the World Race will be held in Qingdao again in 2020. By then, Qingdao will be the only city that hosts the Clipper Round the World Race eight times. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is founder of the Clipper Ventures PLC. The company has been in charge of organizing the Clipper Round the World Race since 1995. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston speaks highly of Qingdao's harbor facility.

"This marine port is magnificent. It has been very well built and it is very good quality construction. I have never seen a harbor built like this. I was told the best one was in Monaco. It is better. Qingdao is constantly growing and it is a safe community. It is right to say that it is the sailing capital in China."

Qingdao also pays close attention to the maritime education of younger generations. It is the only city in China that provides maritime education, utilizing teaching textbooks. A campaign called Sailing Sports Entering to Campus has been around since 2006, and over 120 schools have been participating in the program. More than 30,000 youngsters received training and are now able to navigate sailboats. Qingdao also cultivates several excellent yachtsmen, like Guo Chuan, China's first person to circumnavigate the globe nonstop on a cruise tour.

In March, figures released by the Qingdao Municipal Bureau of Statistics showed that the maritime industry generated nearly 21 percent of the provincial economy in 2017. The revenue generated by the maritime sector in Qingdao was approximately 291 billion yuan in the same year, with an increase of about 16 percent year-to-year which amounted to over 26 percent of the city's GDP.

As the largest coastal city of Shandong province, Qingdao has taken advantage of its geographic location and has made countless excellent achievements, contributing to the regional economy and China's maritime industry. It is foreseeable that Qingdao will continuously lead in this field and expand the maritime industry.

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