With that potential, government-backed ports are working hard to upgrade their infrastructure in time for new tonnage and more ships.
The top four cruise ports in China are Shanghai’s Wusong Port, Tianjin, Xiamen and Sanya, and they are all undergoing or have completed phase two development programs.
Qingdao and Dalian (northern coast), Zhoushan (eastern coast) and Shenzhen (southern coast) are undergoing construction. And seven other cities (Qinhuang Island, Yantai, Ningbo, Wenzhou, Guangzhou, Beihai and Haikou) are planning new ports. Of these, Dalian, Shenzhen and Guangzhou have announced their plans to build homeports.
Qingdao’s will be ahead of those three, however, scheduled to open its new homeport facility in 2015.
In response to the entire buzz surrounding the China cruise industry in the local press, Weihang Zheng, the defacto-CEO of China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association (CCYIA) is cautiously optimistic.
He said that most ports in China are not qualified to build homeports due to water depth issues. Most of China’s coastal cities have large rivers leading to the ocean with sand build-up issues.
Shanghai and Tianjin need to undergo dredging and channeling each year. Sanya and Qingdao are locations with natural advantages with deep harbors.
China Tourism Leisure Association Secretary Xiaoan Wei said that China’s ports, even those in Tianjin, Shanghai, Xiamen and Sanya, remain transit ports and have not progressed up the value chain to becoming real homeports nor has China’s cruise business come to the level where it can support spinning off investment-intensive related industries in the port cities.
For 2015, two developments in China may dampen its cruise industry growth. First, China’s economy is slowing down and second is the clamping down on opaque and extravagant spending by government officials (overseas travel is one of the three areas being looked at).
These, however, only reflect that China is at the beginning of its cruise journey and will require more education and time to progress to become another South Florida.
The ninth edition of the China Cruise Shipping and International Expo is the Asia/Pacific's No. 1 cruise event, learn more at http://www.ccyia.com/ccs/EN/index.htm. The show takes place Oct. 15-17 in Tianjin, China.
Read a detailed analysis of all Chinese ports in Cruise Industry News Fall 2014 Quarterly Magazine, due out October 15.
Visit Cruise Industry News, the official event media sponsor and partner, at booth B77.