China’s Ningbo-Zhoushan Port plans to raise US$1.6 billion to expand six container terminals that will increase annual handling capacity by 5.6 million TEU to over 32 million TEU by 2020, to cement its status as the world’s third-busiest container port.
At a shareholders' meeting set for 28 February 2020, Ningbo-Zhoushan port plans to raise the funds by issuing 2.635 billion non-public shares to its parent, Ningbo-Zhoushan Port Group (NZPG), and to Shanghai International Port Group. In January, SIPG had proposed to buy a 5% stake in NZPG, amid a wave of port consolidation in China.
Ningbo-Zhoushan became the third-busiest container port in 2018, when its throughput of 26 million TEU surpassed that of Shenzhen. Ahead of Ningbo-Zhoushan are Shanghai and Singapore ports.
In 2019, Ningbo-Zhoushan processed 27.53 million TEU of containers, while Shanghai handled 43.3 million TEU.
SIPG, a state-owned enterprise, operates all the public terminals in Shanghai port.
Ningbo-Zhoushan port plans to use US$1.27 billion of the proceeds to develop container terminals 6 to 10 at its Meishan sub-port, and container terminal 1 in the Chuanshan port area, among other developments.
Both Shanghai and Ningbo-Zhoushan ports are along the Yangtze River Delta, and by fostering closer ties, both ports hope to create a mega port of sorts.
On 1 December 2019, the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee and the State Council issued a plan for the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta. The plan includes strengthening Shanghai's container handling operations and modernising Ningbo-Zhoushan's port infrastructure.
In a statement, Ningbo-Zhoushan port said that its proximity to Shanghai port will mean that their mutual complementarity would "create an international shipping centre along the Yangtze River Economic Belt, enhancing China's overall competitiveness in the global marketplace".