China-South Korea Sea Trade Booms

Added On November 1, 2015

Economic cooperation is set to be a focus of the Chinese premier's trip to South Korea. 
The two countries are close economic partners. A free trade agreement, inked in June, is adding to the momentum of cooperation.
Under the deal, tariffs on 90 percent of goods traded between the two countries will eventually be eliminated. This has already led to a booming sea trade. 
Weihai port in east China's Shandong Province is the nearest Chinese port to South Korea. It operates three out of a total of 15 shipping lanes between the two countries.
Since China and South Korea reached a free trade agreement in June, the port has seen business increase manyfold. 
"With the China-South Korea free trade agreement, the shipping volume with South Korea has been increasing steadily. We have three shipping routes to South Korea, which link to Incheon, Busan and Pyeongtaek. The shipping volume with Busan remains unchanged, but that with Pyeongtaek has rose by 6 to 7 percent, and that with Incheon has shot up by over 20 percent. Freight shipping has seen a considerable increase, with more goods going both directions."
One month after the signing of the free trade agreement, a mail-delivery sea route between Weihai and Incheon was reopened, seven years after it was halted as business dragged.
It's the second such route between China and South Korea. The other is between the northern Chinese city of Tianjin and Incheon.
With the re-launch of the route, delivery cost is slashed by as much as 70 percent. 
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE): CHEN LISHENG, Weihai International Logistics Park
"How fast goods reach consumers is very important to cross-border e-business companies. It takes just a day for ships to reach China or South Korea. So, if customers place an order online, they can get their goods within two days." 
According to China Post, 1,000 items of mail are sent from South Korea to Shandong every day, while about 350 travel in the other direction. 
Both are growing at an annual rate of 40 percent.