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|Saturday, March 24, 2001, updated at 10:39(GMT+8)|
China to Fully Loosen Control Over Domestic Shipping PriceChina will completely lift control over the price of domestic shipping beginning on May 1 and make passenger and cargo transportation by water become the second fully market-oriented transport industry following the highway industry, disclosed an official with the Ministry of Communications Friday.
Lin Junbao of the ministry's water transport department said domestic shipping companies will be able to determine independently the shipping price based on their cost and the market demand. But they are required to make public their new price 30 days in advance.
China's shipping industry has registered a rapid growth over the past two decades. Statistics show that the country now has over 240,000 vessels, totally weighing 60 million tons, belonging to more than 6,000 shipping enterprises.
In 2000, they carried 2.3 trillion tons of goods and 10.4 billion passengers.
Insiders said that decontrolling of shipping price will help break domestic monopoly and further open up the water transport market.
China's ocean shipping sector has been operating according to internationally accepted rules, and the domestic shipping sector has gradually become market-oriented over the past three years.
While the highway and waterway transport has almost completed the market-orientation progress, the air transport industry announced decontrol of fare on seven major air routes earlier this month. The railway department has also accelerated its market-oriented reform.
All these indicate that China's transportation industry is speeding up its transition toward a market economy, and preparing itself for the challenges which are expected to emerge after China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), observers said.
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