China visit sparks trade

Nine delegates return from a CILTA Trade Delegation to China sporting benefits from increased friendship to new export deals

China visit sparks trade
China visit sparks trade

By Anna Game-Lopata | August 9, 2011

Nine delegates have returned from the CILTA North Queensland Trade Delegation to China sporting benefits from increased friendship and awareness to new trade deals.

An initiative of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Australia's (CILTA)
North Queensland Division, the delegates were on a mission to form a better understanding of China as a destination for north Queensland’s mining and minerals products.

The delegates, representing a diverse range of interests from Queensland Rail, Xstrata Copper, Northern Stevedoring Services to the Port of Townsville spent ten days in late July visiting Shanghai Port, the Yantai-based builders of the world’s largest gantry crane and Mag Lev Train, the world’s fastest train.

Other stops included the Tianjin Free Trade Zone and Economic Technological Development Area, Shanghai’s General Metal Structure Engineering company, and Lupu Bridge, the world’s longest steel arch bridge.

CILTA North Queensland Chairman Tracey Lines, who organised and led the delegation, says Chinese logistics infrastructure is impressive.

"There is so much to absorb from the Chinese economy," Lines says, "from the scale of the infrastructure – airports, energy, roads and rail lines – to the efficiency and detail of long term planning."

Lines says she was particularly struck by the Shanghai Maglev Train, the first commercial high-speed magnetic levitation line in the world and the Sutong Yangtze Bridge – the world’s longest cable stayed bridge.

However for Lines, the highlight of the trip was the port visits
taking in
Shanghai, the biggest container port in the world along with the ports of Changshu and Hong Kong.

"To witness the efficiency, scale and operation of these facilities was incredibly rewarding,"
Lines says. "For example, Changshu is considered a small river port, but it’s huge by Australian standards."

"One of the great aspects of the delegation was that we experienced the most affluent aspects of Chinese culture such as banquets in skyscrapers overlooking the Bund right through to the street markets where the poorest of the population spend their workdays."

In terms of the trip’s benefits Lines says as a group the delegation significantly raised its knowledge of Chinese business customs and witnessed processes placing China in context as a destination for mining and mineral products.

"Being immersed in the Chinese business culture
completely illustrates just why the nation is achieving such great rates of economic growth," Lines says.

"This point is imperative when you consider China is Australia’s largest trading partner and the largest destination of North Queensland mining exports.

"But it is even more pertinent within the current global environment of economic instability and high levels of debt in Western economies," she says.

While Lines says she can’t yet disclose the details, she says two significant trade opportunities have arisen for the Port of Townsville as a direct result of the trip.

Lines says she is currently working on the deals which involve the export of Australian products into three different Chinese markets.

"We have formed some very strong connections with our friends and colleagues in Chinese organisations," she adds.

"It is hard to quantify what experiencing the business culture and scale of infrastructure does for your individual professional and personal development.

"The experience is also about the Chinese society and people; the kindness, friendliness and hospitality we experienced at every leg of our journey was simply incredible.

"I think the nine delegates developed a tight bond which is a great benefit for our own regional business community.

Lines says invitations have been extended to delegate members from five Chinese groups to return and the Shanghai Trade Commissioner has confirmed he will add Townsville to his official Australian visit in October.

"CILTA will definitely run another trade delegation to China next year," she says. "Words cant express how rewarding the trip was."

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