Dalian Port is preparing to launch a mainland initial public offering to help fund the acquisition of assets from its parent firm, which itself is seeking to consolidate ports in the northeast of the country. The Hong Kong-listed state-backed operator of petroleum, container and vehicle terminals planned to acquire assets from its parent, PDA Corp, said Dalian Port chairman Sun Hong, who is also PDA's general manager, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. Only about 33 per cent of PDA's total assets of more than 30 billion yuan (HK$34.17 billion) are listed, but it is too early to tell how much of them will be sold to the listed vehicle, as well as how big and how soon the planned share sale will be. 'We are in talks with several investment banks about our plan, but it is not possible for it to be executed this year,' said Sun. PDA, the operator of China's third-largest port by assets, wants to take a leading role in consolidating Liaoning's ports, a move being pushed by the provincial government. The plan is in line with the central government's proposal to build a coastal economic zone in Liaoning, which is striving to expand its role as a northeast Asian transshipment hub. 'For historical reasons, northeast China's manufacturers were far from the south and the export markets and had to bear high logistics costs,' said Sun. 'But with the new economic belt, partly to house the transfer of manufacturing from overseas and other parts of China to the region, there are new opportunities for port operators.' PDA was in talks to take a controlling stake in Liaoning's Jinzhou port, but it was too early to tell the stake and investment size, Sun said. PDA also plans to build a 60 million tonne a year coal port in Huludao in southwestern Liaoning at a cost of five billion yuan to six billion yuan, jointly with the local government as well as coal and power producers there. The plan is pending government approval and will take just over two years to complete. In Dandong, at the border with North Korea, PDA is conducting a study to select a new site with deeper water to build a port to complement the existing one, in co-operation with the local government. The new port will mainly handle iron ore imports. Sun's comment on PDA's plans comes as it saw a recovery in container throughput, which had been shrinking from the outbreak of the global economic crisis until June. 'We have been seeing increasing volume month on month since July,' he said. The container port business, which is operated by the listed unit, aimed to process 4.5 million 20-foot equivalent units (teu) in Dalian this year, flat from last year, he added. First-half volume was two million teu, down 2.7 per cent year on year. PDA aims to raise total cargo volume - mainly petroleum and bulk commodities such as grains, coal and iron ore - by 8.1 per cent this year to 200 million tonnes. Meanwhile, Sun said, Dalian Port's joint-venture 300,000 deadweight tonne crude oil terminal project with PetroChina was expected to be completed by year-end. He also said the two firms' 2.6 billion yuan joint-venture liquefied natural gas processing terminal in Xingang, Dalian, should come on stream in 2011, even though PetroChina had so far secured just about 66 per cent of the terminal's gas requirements, as there was still time for more procurement. PetroChina has signed deals to buy LNG from Australia and Qatar.