NANHAI International Container Terminals (NICT), one of the largest joint-venture projects in the Nanhai area, began operations on Tuesday. Construction work on Phase I of the terminal, a joint venture between Nanhai Municipal Transport Holdings Co and Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT), began last year. Facilities completed so far include 150 metres of quay, 6,650 sq metres of container yard, 6,460 sq m of warehouse space and advanced cargo-handing equipment. The terminal can accommodate two 3,000 to 5,000-tonne container ships and one 1,000-tonne conventional vessel simultaneously. When Phase I is completed. at a cost of 180 million yuan (about HK$170.8 million), the quay will be 300 metres long and the container yard 100,000 sq m. HIT managing director John Meredith said the terminal will make a significant contribution the economic development of the Pearl River delta region. Leaders of the municipal government, including Municipal Party secretary Lin Hao Kun and mayor Deng Yaohwa, officiated at the opening ceremony.