PSA plans US$200m stake in Tianjin port

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 May, 2005, 12:00am

Singapore's PSA International Corp has increased its foray into the mainland container market, agreeing in principle to take a stake in a 5.3 billion yuan expansion at the northern port of Tianjin.

The international investment arm of state-owned PSA has signed a memorandum of understanding for a 30 per cent stake in the north harbour expansion project, which will add more than two kilometres of waterfront to the port, according to an executive with knowledge of the deal.

A Singapore-based spokesman for PSA, the world's No2 container terminal operator by volume, declined to confirm the size of the stake or its potential investment.

'The project involves the development of 2,200 metres of quay length that has a draught of 15 metres and is capable of handling the latest generation of mega container vessels,' PSA said in a statement.

The deal calls for PSA to invest US$200 million for its stake, with the capital used to add six more berths to the complex, according to the executive.

It is the company's fifth deal on the mainland, after an earlier two-berth project in Tianjin and container facilities in Dalian, Fuzhou and Guangzhou.

The Tianjin Port Group will hold 50 per cent of the project with an unnamed third party holding the remainder.

Tianjin, the primary maritime gateway to Beijing's vast consumer base, has seen record volumes of cargo cross its docks in the past few months.

The port handled more than 1.43 million 20-foot equivalent units (teu) in the first four months of this year, up a comparative 23.5 per cent.

The port handled 410,380 teu last month, eclipsing the 400,000 mark for the first time, and it is giving Qingdao, also in the Bohai Rim area, a run for the title of the country's top northern port this year.

The deal is PSA's second in Tianjin in the past five months, following a smaller deal it signed with Orient Overseas Container Lines and P&O Nedlloyd.

However, with Denmark's AP Moller Group making a bid for the P&O Group's shipping arm earlier this month, it is believed the British conglomerate's 20 per cent stake will eventually be transferred to APM Terminals, AP Moller's ports division.