The construction of Shanghai international shipping center is now arriving at an important stage of transition development and in a key period when basic and framework construction turns to the problems-tackling and difficulty-overcoming of the soft power and soft environment construction. Therefore, the promotion mode mechanism should also be transformed accordingly. Otherwise, the mechanism will become the restriction for in-depth promotion of the international shipping center construction. The research on the promotion mechanism is to improve the construction efficiency of the shipping center and allow it to obtain the driving force for sustainable development.
A. Promotion mechanisms led by local governments are dominating the international shipping center construction
1. Several reasons lie behind the forming of a government-dominated promotion mechanism in China’s shipping center construction:
First, China’s shipping center construction is at the starting stage. The construction tasks in the port and shipping infrastructure as well as the collection, distribution and transportation systems are especially heavy. As a result, the government’s roles are easily highlighted. The port transportation construction was fully controlled by the governments in the aspects including planning and land. As a result, it is easy for the government’s roles to stand out. Besides Shanghai, the governments also played very important roles in shipping centers including Dalian and Tianjin which also take the hub port construction as their core tasks.
Second, China’s shipping centers were not the result of gradual development and formation driven by the market
Third, under China’s current system, the most important reason lies in that the governments control the resources for shipping center construction. The strong government and the weak market are the most apparent features of China’s systems and mechanisms.
2. Positive effect of government-dominated promotion mechanism
China’s current government-dominated promotion mechanism for shipping center construction indeed possesses its positive effects:
First, the government can concentrate its superior resources to do big things and achieve results in a short time by adopting policy-focusing measures. The Yangshan Deep-Water Port and the Yangtze River Estuary Deep-Water Route should not have been built up in such a short time if such a driving mode were not adopted. This is the feature of the “Mode of China” hailed in foreign countries.
Second, the government’s smooth implementation of its policies, leader-responsible measures and fast decision-making processes are helpful for the emerging shipping centers to quickly form their late-starting-up superiority so as to shorten their time to catch up with the developed shipping centers.
Third, the development of a shipping center is a process of reform, innovation, breakthrough and competition for success. It is relatively faster and easier to push forward the government’s downward reform from the top than do the market’s upward one from the bottom.
B. Accelerating transition of promotion mechanism for shipping center construction
The first is to achieve transition from government domination and market assistance to both government and market domination, and gradually to the direction of market domination and government guidance. Dual domination by the government and market should be the characteristics of China’s shipping center construction in the special phases. Just as what the Outline on National Economy and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China during the 12th Five-Year Plan Period said, “Accelerating the promotion of separation between governments and enterprises, governments and funds, administrative units and institution units, and governments and market intermediate organizations, reducing government’s interference in the micro-economic activities.”
The second is to push forward the problem-tackling of system reform. The Shanghai international shipping center construction relies on not only pushing forward the policy implementation, but also studying how to promote the system reform. In the final analysis, the system breakthrough is to drive Shanghai international shipping center construction according to international practice, fully learn from the free-port mode and make big breakthrough and innovation in customs clearance and customs supervision. It is recommended to learn from Singapore and Hong Kong in this aspect.
The third is to accelerate the construction of shipping market systems. The core to construct the shipping market system is to develop shipping organizations first. The roles of associations and other social organizations should be given full play to. In addition, it is important to develop the market players, enterprises. The discourse right and initiative of enterprises should be strengthened during shipping center construction. Moreover, it is important to develop shipping transaction markets. Shanghai should not have only one shipping transaction institution, but establish a shipping transaction market system with several different types of businesses. At the same time, the market experience of shipping and shipping service industries should be cultivated.
The fourth is to speed up the formation of a market mechanism beneficial to the development of shipping service industry. The government should prioritize the optimization of shipping market environment. China is now in a period of economic system transition. Its laws and regulations are not perfect with a not sound market mechanism. It still requires hard efforts to create a good competitive environment for Chinese and foreign shipping business operators.
The fifth is to reasonably limit the government behaviors on the basis that the governments continuously play a supportive role for the shipping center construction. The appropriate government management is an effective guarantee of efficient operation of the international shipping center.
To conclude, only by forming the organically integrated mechanism between market driving force and government driving force can good and fast construction and development of the shipping center be promoted.