Friday, May 20, 2011

APL Parent to Partner on Major New China Box Terminal

Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines, the world's seventh largest shipping line and the parent of ocean carrier APL, announced Thursday a joint venture to operate a two-berth container terminal at the Port of Qingdao. NOL will invest $25.8 million in the terminal, which when opened in the second half of this year, will be NOL’s first in mainland China.

“Today we’ve taken a significant step to strengthen our presence in China and participate fully in its unprecedented growth,” APL President for North Asia Kenneth Glenn said. “Terminal investment is a logical step for us after decades of supporting the nation’s trade on sea and land.”

The Qingdao joint venture will partner NOL with China-based logistics firm SITC International Holdings Company Limited and Qingdao Qianwan United Container Terminal Co., Ltd.

NOL said the fast-growing North China market is a strategic focal point for its liner shipping company, APL – a major reason for the terminal investment. Located on the Yellow Sea coast, Qingdao is China’s fifth-largest container port and the largest in the North China market.

According to NOL, its investment in the new terminal, where major construction is already complete, will ensure future access to terminal capacity as China’s trade growth accelerates. The NOL joint venture partnership has a 30-year concession at Qingdao.

NOL estimates that the new terminal will add 1.5 million TEUs of annual capacity at Qingdao, already the world's eighth busiest container port with just over 12 million TEUs handled in 2010.

The new terminal will be equipped with seven post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes as well as 16 rail-mounted yard gantry cranes.

The terminal will primarily serve vessels operated by APL and SITC. APL said the dedicated container terminal will "help improve schedule reliability and guarantee high service levels to its customers."

APL currently operates marine terminals at Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Kobe and Yokohama in Japan; and in the U.S. at the ports of Los Angeles, Oakland, and Seattle, as well as Dutch Harbor in Alaska.