Shang­hai port group eyes Ger­man as­sets

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - ByWUYIYAO in Shang­hai andZHONGNANin Bei­jing

Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Port Group Co Ltd is seek­ing a stake in the Port of Ham­burg, the world’s largest free port, Ger­man news­pa­per Ham­burger Abend­blatt re­ported onWed­nes­day.

The re­port said SIPG had also ex­pressed in­ter­est in the Port of Bre­men, an­other of Europe’s largest ports.

SIPG Chair­man Chen Xuyuan said that close co­op­er­a­tion be­tween his­com­pany and ei­ther of the Euro­pean ports would be lu­cra­tive and all par­ties in­volved would ben­e­fit. Chen made the com­ment dur­ing a port con­fer­ence in­Ham­burg.

SIPG, which is listed on the Shang­hai Stock Ex­change, owns the largest port in the Chi­nese main­land. Its clients in­clude many com­pa­nies in the China (Shang­hai) Pi­lot Free Trade Zone.

Ac­cord­ing to SIPG’s of­fi­cial web­site, as well as press re­leases and dis­clo­sures to in­vestors in May, the group has ex­panded into over­seas mar­kets. It won a 25-year fran­chise in­Haifa, Is­rael, and joined the con­struc­tion of Zee­brugge in west­ern Bel­gium, the coun­try’s sec­ond­largest port af­ter An­twerp.

SIPG did not re­spond to ques­tions about the Ger­man ports onWed­nes­day.

SIPG is not alone among Chi­nese com­pa­nies in seek­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to own or op­er­ate ports over­seas, es­pe­cially amid in­creas­ing trade be­tween China and the rest of the world.

On May 15, China Ocean Ship­ping Group was cho­sen as one of three short­listed bid­ders for a 51 per­cent stake in Pi­raeus Port, Greece’s largest port. Bind­ing bids are due by Septem­ber. COSCO man­ages two con­tainer piers at the port and has been in talks with Greece to buy a ma­jor­ity stake.

China Na­tional Ce­re­als, Oils and Food­stuffs Corp in­vested $1.5 bil­lion for a 51 per­cent stake in the agribusi­ness op­er­a­tions of Hong Kong-based Noble Group and reached agree­ment with the Nether­lands-based agri­cul­tural and com­mod­ity trad­ing group Nidera BV to ac­quire 51 per­cent of its shares in 2014.

Those deals will en­able COFCO to con­trol the two com­pa­nies’ port as­sets in South Amer­ica (Brazil and Uruguay) and Asia to con­duct grain stor­age and port load­ing busi­nesses, ac­cord­ing to Dong Li­wan, a pro­fes­sor of in­ter­na­tional trade at Shang­haiMar­itimeUniver­sity.

Ex­pand­ing port busi­nesses can profit port own­ers in var­i­ous ways and help trad­ing com­pa­nies im­prove ef­fi­ciency and re­duce costs, said Dong.

“It is also help­ful for China’s agribusi­ness com­pa­nies to ship grain or other agri­cul­tural prod­ucts such as palm oil and cot­ton to var­i­ous mar­kets through ports where they have op­er­at­ing leases or part­ner­ships. It can save time by sim­pli­fy­ing lo­cal cus­toms re­quire­ments and other ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­ce­dures,” said Dong. Con­tact the writ­ers at wuyiyao@chi­nadaily. and zhong­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

MOR­RIS MAC MATZEN / REUTERS

Con­tainer ship Ham­burgEx­press is towed to the Port of Ham­burg, Ger­many. Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Port Group Co Ltd is re­port­edly seek­ing a stake in the Ger­man port, which is the largest free port in the world.

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