Mainland port operator China Merchants Holdings International (0144) said it plans to invest 3 billion yuan (HK$3.02 billion) in its parent's container terminal project in Tianjin in a bid to take advantage of accelerated development in the Bohai Rim region. "We plan to build four container berths in the Tianjin port, each capable of accommodating 600,000 to 700,000 TEUs [20-foot equivalent units], with a total investment of 3 billion yuan," chairman Fu Yuning told reporters Wednesday following a shareholders' meeting in Hong Kong.
Construction will start in 2010, he said.
Fu noted that with the momentum of foreign trade in China accelerating at double-digit growth rate, the container terminal business would benefit from the rise in imports and exports.
China Merchants Group, the controlling shareholder of the Hong Kong-listed subsidiary, recently signed a framework agreement with Tianjin Port Group to develop port, logistic and real estate projects in the city's Dongjiang area.
Tianjin Port's cargo handling capacity reached 240 million tonnes in 2005, ranked sixth in the world. The port's container handling capacity hit 4.8 million TEUs in 2005, ranked 16th in the world.
Meanwhile, China Merchants International received shareholders' approval Wednesday to consolidate the equity interests of terminals in the western Shenzhen area.
In December, the company disclosed it had partnered with Modern Terminals to buy out the combined 40 percent stake in Shekou container terminal phase 1 and 39 percent stake in phase 2 for HK$3.17 billion. Both stakes are owned by Swire Pacific (0019) and Dubai Ports International.
Modern Terminals is 68 percent controlled by Wharf Holdings (0004) and 27 percent by China Merchants.
China Merchants Holdings shares closed Wednesday at HK$31.50, up 1.94 percent.