China Merchants and Bank of China Zhangzhou Economic Development Zone Co plans to spend between 500 million yuan and 600 million yuan (between HK$465 million and $558 million) developing phase two of the Zhangzhou port project.
Company director and general manager, Kang Jian, said the expansion - comprising four berths and storage area - was approved in principle last year by the State Planning Commission.
Two of the berths can handle vessels up to 35,000 dead-weight tonnes (dwt) and the other two 20,000 dwt.
Mr Kang said the company would either look for support from foreign investors or borrow from financial institutions to raise the required investment. It is also considering using the BOT (build-operate-transfer) method in a bid to lure foreign investment.
The company - 50 per cent owned by China Merchants Holdings - is the sole developer and operator of the zone and the port in Zhangzhou City, Fujian province.
Bank of China Investment Co holds 20 per cent with the rest owned by five other parties.
The only berth in the port handled 360,000 tonnes of cargo last year, compared with its designed annual capacity of 600,000 tonnes.
The Xiamen port, in Xiamen Bay opposite Zhangzhou port, has been under development for more than 15 years.
It handled 19.7 million tonnes of cargo last year.
Mr Kang said 14 foreign investment projects were committed to the zone last year with an actual investment amounting to US$55.8 million.
Most of the projects are food, grains and oil processing plants. Others cover construction materials and port-handing facilities.