One of the world's largest container carriers is teaming up with Chinese authorities to operate two berths at the Port of Ningbo near Shanghai.
Ningbo Port Group and Mediterranean Shipping Co. will jointly operate the berths in the Beilun district. Under a cooperation agreement, they will invest a total of $250 million to set up a new terminal company with each party holding equal shares.
Phase Four of expansion at Beilun is the biggest investment project in Ningbo so far. It will cost 7 billion yuan ($845 million) and include construction of five berths with annual capacity of 4 million TEUs.
Ningbo has seven container berths now and handled 2.75 million TEUs in 2003, up 48 percent from the previous year, official figures show. It ranked fifth among China's box ports.
Ningbo lies across an estuary to the south of Shanghai, China's biggest port, which faces constant struggles with narrow approaches and heavy silting even as business booms. Ningbo has in the past been used as an overflow point to ease Shanghai's congestion, but is now growing rapidly on its own, reducing its ability to ease such strains.
Geneva-based MSC operates 225 container vessels with capacity of more than 550,000 TEUs.