Tianjin, the northern Chinese coastal city, reported a surge in parallel car imports last year despite a sharp decline in overall car imports following the fatal warehouse explosions at the port in August.
Car imports at Tianjin fell 31.4 percent last year to 379,900 units. However, parallel imports, or vehicles bought from other markets for sale in China, rose 14.1 percent to 79,000 units, local authorities said on Monday.
That represents 74 percent of the country's total parallel imported cars. Such vehicles, usually sold cheaper than similar models from domestic dealers or simply not available through official retail channels, are not entitled to after-sale services.
The Ministry of Commerce approved a trial for the sale of such imported cars last year in Tianjin as part of broader support for the city's free trade zone.
The warehouse blasts in August forced many automakers to use some of the country's other ports, leading to a decline in Tianjin, the country's leading car import hub.
Tianjin Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau said authorities hade streamlined import procedures for automakers to help them slowly recover import at the port toward pre-blast levels.
They are also mulling further measures to stimulate parallel imports, chief among them a 100 million yuan (15.34 million U.S. dollars) fund for reducing the cost of logistics for parallel-imported cars and improving their after-sale services.