Fishing firm with operations in Mauritania and Vanuatu building processing hub in Zhuhai, China

Published on
December 8, 2021
Zhuhai, China, has announced its construction of a distant-water port and complex.

Another coastal city in China has announced its construction of a distant-water port and complex, even as China recently imposed a self-imposed cap on its squid fleet.

Works have commenced on the Zhuhai East Port Distant-Water Fishery Base, a CNY 400 million (USD 64 million, EUR 56 million) project set to be completed in 2024. The project, which is designed to facilitate the processing of larger catches by China’s distant-water fleet, is the latest in a string of similar bases being built or expanded in Fujian, Shandong, and Zhejiang provinces, with enthusiastic local government support.

The Zhuhai project will span 18,000 square meters and is described as a “landmark city development project” by local government, with handling facilities, cold-chain warehousing, processing facilities, and logistics zones. Details of the project’s budget – and to what extent it is being financed by government and the fishery sector – have not been released.

Bordering Macau – the world’s largest gambling hub by revenue – and adjacent to Hong Kong, the new project is being spearheaded by Zhuhai East Port Xing Ocean Fishing Co., a fishing firm with vessels in Mauritania and Vanuatu.

The firm wants to bring more seafood from its remote fishing operations back to Zhuhai for processing, according to company chairman Li Qitu, who said at the project’s recent groundbreaking ceremony he hoped to increase the supply of “high-end seafood, beef, and mutton” to the Greater Bay Area – a megalopolis that includes Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

The Zhuhai government’s circular announcing the port project tied it to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a government blueprint to establish greater connectivity with international markets. References to the plan – once abundant in seafood-infrastructure projects – have lessened in recent months after several Belt and Road Initiative projects hit turbulence in countries where debt financing for infrastructure has been received with a public backlash.

Photo courtesy of CaptainHook/Shutterstock

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