BEIJING, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Two new ports have been opened on the Chinese mainland for direct shipping links between the mainland and Taiwan.
The two ports, opened by the Ministry of Transport, are Yantai Port in east China's Shandong Province and Shenzhen Port in south China's Guangdong Province. They are among 72 ports on the mainland, and 85 ports on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait for cross-Strait direct shipping.
The ministry published a circular on Friday vowing to promote cross-Strait sea transport.
In addition to the new ports, the ministry also urged more cross-Strait cooperation in marine salvage.
The two sides of the Strait will establish a communication mechanism for relevant information. The China Maritime Search and Rescue Center on the mainland and the Taiwan-based Chinese Search and Rescue Association have been designated as liaison organizations.
The ministry also called for efforts to strengthen the administrative supervision of the cross-Strait shipping market by cracking down on illegal and unqualified operations. It also wants measures to maintain the market order in the cross-Strait container service, such as a freight fare registration system to protect fair competition.
The direct shipping links between the mainland and Taiwan began on Dec. 15, 2008, after an agreement signed by the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and its Taiwan counterpart Straits Exchange Foundation in Nov. that year.
As of the end of June this year, the cargo volume of marine transport between the two sides reached 220 million tonnes and the container shipment volume was about six million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs).
The number of cross-Strait passengers reached 5.5 million.