The Zhanjiang Customs District plans to enhance cooperation with its counterparts at Dampier port in Australia and Singapore in a pilot program to build alliances with overseas ports.
Dampier is a main port for Australia's iron ore exports and a key source of iron ore shipped to Zhanjiang, said Wang Kan, deputy chief of the customs district, which oversees the customs operations in Zhanjiang and Maoming cities in Guangdong province.
While Singapore runs the most shipping and logistics business with Zhanjiang among Southeast Asian nations, he said.
"We hope to push forward full cooperation between Zhanjiang Port and ports along the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road," Wang added.
A hub port serving eastern, central and western China, Zhanjiang is listed as one of the key ports in the country's Belt and Road Initiative, which was proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013.
The program is one of the measures announced by the customs district on Thursday for spurring foreign trade in western Guangdong.
The foreign trade sector of Zhanjiang continues to bear the challenge of the region's weakening traditional advantages and shrinking overseas demand this year, said Zhang Ronghui, vice mayor of Zhanjiang.
The city's foreign trade dropped by 3.6 percent year-on-year to 15.19 billion yuan ($2.45 billion) in the first half of this year, largely pulled back by the drastically lower prices of imported oil and iron ore. Imports of agricultural products and machinery showed strong growth.
Exports during the period went up 7.9 percent to 8.11 billion yuan, boosted by products such as furniture, machinery and chemical fertilizers.
The Zhanjiang Customs District will actively participate in the integration of customs services in 11 custom districts in Guangdong, Fujian and Hainan provinces, and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, said Chen Zhifeng, deputy chief of the customs district.
Starting May 1, companies in the four places have been free to choose the customs district where they make their customs declarations, duty payments and customs clearance.
Nearly 900 import and export companies in Zhanjiang are entitled to the new service, with customs-related costs reduced by up to 30 percent.
The Zhanjiang Customs District will enhance cooperation with its counterparts and port operators in the Beibu Gulf Rim, and customs services will be integrated with entry-exit inspection and quarantine services in the region.
The customs district will further enhance integration between the Beibu Gulf Rim and central, southwestern and western China for better business connections with West Asia and Southeast Asia, Wang said.