PSA, Dongguan to fund 1.4b yuan port development

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 April, 2006, 12:00am

Two-berth facility due to open in 2008 following years of municipal lobbying

Dongguan municipal authorities and the international port development arm of Singapore's PSA Corp have agreed to spend 1.4 billion yuan on a new container terminal at Humen, adding to south China's increasingly busy port scene.

The two-berth facility, due to open in 2008, will be Dongguan's first dedicated deep-sea container terminal, built on a greenfield site on the east bank of the Pearl River near the Humen Bridge.

'Dongguan is an ideal location for a terminal dedicated to intra-Asia trade,' said a mainland executive with knowledge of the deal. 'It has the richest cargo hinterland in Guangdong.'

The plan calls for a two-berth second phase, with the timing of construction depending on demand. PSA International will manage the port and take an 80 per cent stake in both phases. Its mainland partner, the municipally owned Dongguan Port Group, will hold the remainder.

PSA sources in Singapore yesterday declined to comment.

The first phase will have an annual handling capacity of 600,000 teu (20-ft equivalent units). The access route to the port is being dredged to a depth of 13 metres, suitable for the 3,000-teu to 4,000-teu capacity vessels that ply the booming intra-Asia trade routes.

The contract, signed last month after approval from the state planning authorities, comes as a huge relief to ambitious Dongguan officials who have lobbied Beijing for a dedicated facility for several years.

Their initial plans for a deepwater facility were rebuffed in 2002 when state planners stepped in to cool down rampant port development in south China. Shortly after, the 10 billion yuan first-phase development of Nansha port, across the river from Humen on Longxue Island, was given the approval.

It is unlikely the PSA joint venture - its second in Guangdong after a previous partnership in Guangzhou - will want for cargo. Dongguan's factories annually produce about six million teu worth of manufactured goods, most of which are moved through Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

The deal comes hard on the heels of the announcement this week that authorities in Huizhou, on the eastern side of the delta, have reached an agreement in principle with Hutchison Whampoa on a similar facility.

Ships ahoy

First phase will have an annual handling capacity of 600,000 teu

Singapore operator to manage it and take an 80 per cent stake

Second phase to proceed according to freight demand