To strengthen connectivity and deepen cooperation, Zhanjiang has stepped up efforts to improve its transport network, including roads, high-speed railways, airports, shipping waterways and ports.
More than 9 billion yuan will be spent on the transport infrastructure this year, an increase of 73.6 percent year-on-year, which will further boost connections both inland and outland.
Liu said that more high-speed highway and railway routes will be extended to the port city, which will significantly shorten travel time from Zhanjiang to major cities in Guangdong and around the nation, such as Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing.
The Zhanjiang airport relocation project, which was recently approved by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, will serve a broader area in western Guangdong to facilitate the area's development. The existing Zhanjiang airport already has an international route linking the city and Singapore. The construction of the new airport will offer more direct routes to connect with Southeast Asia.
In addition, a bonded logistics center has been authorized by the central government to be established in Zhanjiang, which will boost the development of the local logistics industry.
The iron and steel and petrochemical industries play a key role in driving the city's development.
Zhanjiang has attracted several giant projects in recent years, such as the Baosteel project developed by the country's largest steel producer and the Sinopec project, Asia's largest petroleum refining facility.
The Baosteel facility in Zhanjiang, with investment of about 50 billion yuan, is expected to be operational in September and should boost the city's GDP growth and create tens of thousands of new jobs.
The throughput capacity of Zhanjiang Port exceeded 200 million metric tons in 2014 and Liu said that capacity would rise to 300 million tons and go into the top 10 ports in China in the next three or four years.
Liu also said that Zhanjiang plans to develop five "new" industries including new marine industry, new energy, new materials, new electronics and new biomedicines to drive local industry transformation.
However, the Party chief said that the government will strive to create a balance between economic development and environmental protection.
"Zhanjiang is a beautiful coastal city and we can't develop our economy at the expense of our environment especially our maritime ecological environment," he said.
Baosteel is spending 12 percent of the project's total investment on energy saving and environmental protection and has adopted 116 energy-saving and environmental protection technologies during the construction process.
Sinopec's project is expected to adopt advanced pollution control technologies that are up to international environmental protection standards.
"We will always keep an eye on ecological and urban environment improvement and make Zhanjiang a better place to live," Liu said.