American President Lines (APL), the dedicated container shipping arm of Singapore's NOL Group, has signed on to use the port of Chiwan for the next 20 years in a move seen as a strong vote of confidence in south China's No3 terminal operator. APL, global shipments of which jumped a comparative 20 per cent to 134,000 teu (40-ft equivalent units) in the four weeks to April 30, said the contract with Chiwan Container Terminals would help it trim operational costs as pressure to find berth space in the booming Guangdong market intensified. 'We are experiencing considerable volume growth at CCT, well into the double digits,' said a Singapore-based spokesman for the group. 'The move is also in response to a substantial shift in sourcing to the South China area.' CCT, whose shareholders include the Hong Kong-listed Wharf Group and China Merchants, has risen from a regional bit player five years ago to a terminal which this year will easily surpass the two-million box mark. In the first five months, throughput at CCT expanded 64 per cent year on year to 943,000 teu (20-ft equivalent units). APL, CCT's second-biggest liner customer, behind Mediterranean Shipping Co, along with its New World Alliance partners call at CCT seven times a week. The carrier calls at nine ports in China.