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Maersk takes stake in Ningbo port expansion
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - APM Terminals, the ports arm of Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk (MAERSKb.CO), will take a one-fourth stake in a project to expand China's Ningbo Port with total investments of 4.29 billion yuan ($673.4 million), the companies said on Friday.
The announcement came during a visit to Denmark by Chinese President Hu Jintao.
"We believe in China and will continue to invest in its development," APM Terminals Chief Executive Kim Fejfer said on Danish commercial broadcaster TV2 News.
Ningbo is the sixth-largest container port in the world and the third-biggest in China with throughput of 14.5 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) in 2011 and strong growth in recent years, APM Terminals said in a statement.
"This agreement creates important new port capacity needed for our customers in one of the fastest-growing container markets in the world," Henrik Pedersen, chief executive of APM Terminals Asia-Pacific region, said in a statement.
The companies will jointly invest and operate berths 3, 4 and 5, comprising a one kilometer quay in Ningbo's Meishan Container Terminal, APM Terminals said. "Once constructed, the new facility will become operational by December 31, 2014."
At its current growth rate, Ningbo's capacity utilization will exceed 80 percent by the end of 2012 and the Meishan project for berths 3 to 5 represents the future source of capacity, APM Terminals said.
APM Terminals is one of the world's biggest port operators, with interests in 62 port facilities in 36 countries on five continents.
The ports business supports the global operations of Maersk Line, the world's biggest container shipping company, and serves Maersk's shipping rivals.
(Reporting by John Acher; Editing by David Holmes)
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