The Singapore-based parent of APL, the world’s seventh-largest container line, is investing $25.8 million in a joint venture to operate a two-berth container terminal at the Port of Qingdao that is expected to open in the second half of 2011.
NOL formed a partnership with Qingdao Qianwan United Container Terminal Co. to operate the Qingdao terminal under a 30-year concession.
“Terminal investment is a logical step for us after decades of supporting the nation’s trade on sea and land,” said Kenneth Glenn, APL President for North Asia.
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NOL said it decided to invest in Qingdao on the Yellow Sea coast because it is China’s fifth-largest container port and the largest in the north, which is a strategic market for APL.
NOL said the investment will ensure future access to terminal capacity as China’s trade growth accelerates.
The new terminal will add 20-foot equivalent units of annual container capacity at Qingdao. It will be equipped with seven post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes as well as 16 rail-mounted yard gantry cranes.
The terminal, whose construction has been completed, will primarily serve vessels operated by APL and SITC. APL said the dedicated container terminal will help improve schedule reliability and guarantee high service levels to its customers.
The Qingdao investment is the latest in a long series of engagements by NOL companies in China. APL’s predecessor company, American President Lines, began regular vessel service to China in 1867.
APL currently operates marine terminals at Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Kobe and Yokohama, Japan; Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; and Dutch Harbor, AK. NOL also has investments in terminals in Vietnam and Thailand, and in Rotterdam World Gateway, the first container terminal of the Maasvlakte 2 port development in Rotterdam, currently under construction.