Business at Shenzhen's busiest container port, Yantian, will be boosted this month by the launch of eight carrier services, including four from Maersk Sealand, the world's biggest container shipping line. Yantian International Container Terminals, in which Hutchison Whampoa has a minority stake, will also see new services from Hanjin Shipping, Hamburg Sud, Norasia and the New World Alliance, which comprises APL, Hyundai Merchant Marine and Japan's Mitsui O.S.K. Yantian International management has been working on process improvements to squeeze as much handling capacity out of the existing infrastructure before initiating quayside development for the six-berth Phase IIIb, land reclamation for which is complete. 'Theoretically, management believes they can get 35 per cent more capacity by refining their present operational processes. That may be optimistic, but I believe 20 per cent is attainable,' a Hutchison port executive said. 'We can activate the Phase IIIb expansion within a few weeks, if needed.' Yantian International saw 3.31 million boxes cross its docks in the first half, up a comparative 19.9 per cent, and it hopes to achieve a throughput of 6.3 million this year. Merrill Lynch analyst Cusson Leung believes Yantian will be Hutchison's core mainland port project in the short term. 'In China, we believe Hutchison's expansion focus will mainly be on the Yantian Phase III extension, which is expected to be completed in phases over the next two years,' he said in a June 30 report. Overall, Mr Leung said he expected throughput from Hutchison's China portfolio to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14 per cent over the next four years. Globally, earnings before interest and tax for the group's ports and related services sector were expected to rise 29.1 per cent by 2008, to $12.77 billion.