River trade terminals will outperform ocean terminals in throughput growth in Shenzhen and Hong Kong, according to officials of Sinotrans. This is the reason the company, the leading feeder and river terminal operator in the Pearl River Delta, is investing two billion yuan in upgrading its river ports and logistics facilities in the region. Higher wages and insufficient supplies of electricity and labour have driven manufacturers westwards to Foshan, Jiangmen and Nanhai. This has boosted demand for feeder services to transport products from their plants to terminals in Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The particular attractiveness of river terminals is their growth potential. Senior management at Sinotrans estimated throughput at some river terminals would grow 40 per cent or more for the next several years. In Shenzhen, throughput growth would be about 15 per cent. Sinotrans' two terminals in Huangpo, on the northern bank of the Pearl River, handled 100,000 20-foot equivalent units (teu) last month compared with 60,000 teu to 70,000 teu a month last year. Huangpo is the headquarters of Sinotrans Guangdong and serves as a hub for consolidation of river trade goods. Some river terminals posted slower growth because of their limited scale and facilities. Sinotrans' Zhongshan terminal handled 30,000 teu a month and Jiangmen 15,000. They are expected to move 10 to 20 per cent more containers this year. After the newly acquired Jiu Jiang terminal in Foshan, Sinotrans has five river terminals in the region, including those in Huangpo, Jiangmen, Zhoushan and Dongjian. The company is looking for other locations in the Pearl River Delta and even up in the Yangtze River Delta to complete its river terminal network. 'You will find a great deal of acquisitions coming on stream by the end of this year,' Sinotrans president Zhang Jianwei said on the sidelines of a conference in Foshan on Friday. 'We will invest heavily in terminals and depots so as to complete our logistics business, bringing more business to the existing freight forwarding and barge services,' Mr Zhang said. The company will invest 550 million yuan in the Foshan terminal or two billion yuan overall in terminals in the Pearl River Delta by 2010. Throughput at the terminals owned by the company is expected to reach two million teu this year from 1.1 million teu last year and climb to 3.5 million teu when all the upgrading projects are completed, according to Mr Zhang. By that time, the proportion of terminal business to the group's total sales would reach about 16 per cent from 10 per cent at present, he said.