Co-construction of ports enhances maritime connectivity

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By Luo Aihua from People’s Daily,
Guangzhou, S. China : The 2019 World Ports Conference opened on May 8 in Guangzhou, capital of
Southern China’s Guangdong province, as port industry leaders gather to discuss
common challenges and opportunities.
The conference was attended by representatives from more than 50 countries and
regions, as well as deputies from enterprises and international organizations such as
the World Bank.
Chinese enterprises have been actively expanding cooperation with ports in relevant
countries since the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was proposed. Over the past six
years, the Chinese port businesses played an active role in Belt and Road
construction, and continuously deepened international collaboration.
By the end of 2018, China had taken part in the construction and operation of 42 ports
in 34 countries, including Greek’s port of the Piraeus, the Hambantota Port in Sri
Lanka and Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, building a maritime transportation network
covering all coastal countries along the Belt and Road.
Doing business in more than 100 countries and regions, Chinese engineering
contractor China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) has established more than
90 branches and offices across the world and is hiring more than 15,000 employees.
So far, the contract value of projects under construction by CHEC has surpassed $30
billion.
As it becomes global under the BRI, the company has proactively combined its
construction service capability with the urgent need of Belt and Road countries and
regions to develop and improve their port facilities.
CHEC has built the Hambantota Port for Sri Lanka, the Doha New Port for Qatar, and
the Port Abidjan Project in Ivory Coast, and provided integrated solutions for its
global clients, said CHEC chairman Lin Yichong.
The company is currently building the Lekki Deep Sea Port in Nigeria. The project is
a concessional build-own-operate-transfer contract, of which 45 years are for
operations.
CHEC has invested $1.1 billion in phase one of the project which is designed to have
a handling capacity of 1.2 million TEUs. The port will be the only large deep sea port
in Nigeria that could accommodate Panamax ships, and is expected to greatly boost
port logistics of Nigeria.
The port will have a 2,300-meter-long container wharf, one berth for bulk cargoes and
three liquid berths, which make it one of the largest deep sea ports in West Africa.

Adjacent to Lekki Free Trade Zone (FTZ), the port will help build the FTZ into an
export-oriented special economic zone and it will be supported by the FTZ in its
operation. Together, the two will be of vital significance for Nigeria’s economic
growth.
Port construction and operation is opening a page of splendid stories of China’s
international cooperation.
Capt K. Subramaniam, general manager of Port Klang Authority (PKA) of Malaysia,
said China and Malaysia are jointly building a port at the Malaysia-China Kuantan
Industrial Park. After construction, the port could hold 15 vessels, which will increase
efficiency of raw materials and goods transportation, and boost Malaysia’s industrial
development and exports.
“We’ve obtained land approval, and completed phase one construction of the port,”
Subramaniam disclosed, adding that all the facilities are ready for operation and
actually ships were seen at the port three months ago.
China is an important trading partner and source of investment for Indonesia. As early
as 2016, Indonesian Port Corporation (IPC) started to cooperate with Chinese
companies in marine transportation and trade. The company reaped profit growth of 2
to 6 percent per year from Belt and Road cooperation over the past three years, said
Elyvn G. Masassya, President Director of IPC.
The BRI has not only boosted port economy of countries and regions along the route,
but also helped solve problems these countries and regions are faced with.
Port of Gdansk is the largest port in Poland and one of the largest in Europe. The port
was put under financial pressure as prices of commodities and transportation costs
rose.
Thanks to the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), which is
operating container business for the port in Chinese city of Chengdu, Gdansk has
embraced a major growth point, which is also a new opportunity for the company,
said S?awomir Michalewski, Vice-President of Financial Affairs at the Port of
Gdansk.
Chinese companies will follow the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution
and shared benefits, deepen cooperation with Belt and Road countries and regions in
port and shipping infrastructure construction, so as to strengthen maritime
connectivity, expand new areas for cooperation such as ports, logistics and port-
centered industries, and cement maritime cooperation, said Yuan Yue, deputy director
of Guangzhou Port Authority.