Chinese domestic container operator Zhonggu Shipping Group has signed an agreement with Xiamen Port Holding Group and Tianjin Port Development Holdings as the two Chinese ports seek to raise volumes.
The three parties said that they are heeding Chinese President Xi Jinping’s call to speed up port development as part of the Belt and Road initiative.
Tianjin is positioning itself as a hub port in the Bohai Economic Rim in northern China. The southern Chinese port of Xiamen has been courting Zhonggu, which last August, agreed to establish a secondary headquarters in the southern Chinese port.
The “two ports, one voyage” collaboration pact was signed on 20 May 2020, by Zhonggu general manager Sun Rui, Xiamen Port Holding Group’s Deputy General Manager Cai Liqun and Tianjin Port Development Holdings’ Deputy CEO Xu Xubo.
Tianjin and Xiamen will promote the advantages of their respective cities and resources to transform the facilities into integrated hub ports in order to fulfil the Maritime Silk Road concept, the Belt and Road’s sea route portion.
The “two ports, one voyage” agreement will see Zhonggu facilitate the growth in the local economies. At the time of writing, Zhonggu has six ships that sail to and from Xiamen, and besides its secondary headquarters in the port, is also developing a logistics park around the port. In 2019, Zhonggu loaded and discharged 2.25 million TEU of containers in Xiamen.
Zhonggu, whose name literally translates into “Chinese valley”, is now ranked by Alphaliner as the world’s 13th largest liner operator, with capacity of 164,192TEU, comprising 37 owned ships and 77 chartered vessels that ply the Yangtze River and Pearl River.
Originally the shipping arm of Chinese state-owned food processing group China National Cereals, Oils & Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO), Zhonggu was privatised in 2003, under the leadership of current chairman Lu Zongjun.