Yantai Port in Shandong province welcomes an 180,000-metric-ton bauxite ship from West Africa's Guinea every week from a route jointly developed by four companies across three countries.
"We can realize freight volume of 10 million tons this year, and 30 million tons of capacity will be achieved in 2018," said Sun Siyuan, the assistant to the chairman, Sun Xiushun, of Winning International Group, a developer of the route.
China imports more than 50 million tons of bauxite annually from countries such as India, Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia. Guinea has rich bauxite resources, with its storage volume accounting for one-third of the world's proven reserves.
In early 2014, an alliance was established by Singapore's Winning International Group, Guinea's USM, China's Yantai Port Group and the Shandong Weiqiao Pioneering Group Co to build a sea route to annually transport 10 to 30 million tons of bauxite between Yantai and Guinea.
This initiative, which lowered costs from an original construction plans for the deepwater pier from more than 10 billion yuan ($1.52 billion) to 1 billion yuan and the construction time from three years to four months, has allowed Guinea to double its export of bauxite to become the world's most important bauxite exporter.
The coalition has also built two hospitals for residents and mine workers in Guinea. Nearly 5,000 residents are employed in the mining area and at Guinea's Katougouma Port.
On March 15, the alliance announced the opening of the weekly direct sea route from Yantai Port to Africa's western coast. An empty transport ship for bulk cargo now takes 45 days from China to Guinea. Next year there will be two sea transports a week.
The second phase of the construction of Katougouma Port is underway. Located by the side of the port, a 10-square-kilometer logistics industry park has been approved by the government of Guinea. It is also stepping up construction, and attracting domestic and foreign investments. It will become an important trade and logistics distribution center between China and Africa's western coast. It is expected to become a strong and convenient logistics and trade passage for more than 10 countries in West Africa.
A Chinese technician from Shandong province trains a worker in Guinea. Ju Chuanjiang / China Daily