“Consolidation” driving latest China move

CMPort The signing parties will focus on port development, acquisition and infrastructure constructions. Image: CMPort

Strategic cooperation agreements signed by a Chinese-owned port operator reflect a growing effort to “consolidate Chinese resources and activities” rather than the Belt and Road Initiative, a port expert has said.

China Merchants Port Group Holdings Company Limited (CMPort), a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned China Merchants Group, has signed strategic cooperation agreements with China Africa Development Fund (CADFUND and China-Portugal Cooperation Development Fund (CPDFUND), both funded by China Development Bank, for work to include port development.  

However, consolidation is the main driver of the agreements, rather than the Belt and Road Initiative, which the Chinese government appear to be “adopting a lower profile on,” said Neil Davidson, senior analyst - ports & terminals at Drewry, speaking exclusively to Port Strategy.

Talking about the agreements, he said they are likely “more a reflection of the policy of consolidating Chinese resources and activities that is now gaining traction”.

He added: “On the domestic front, a number of Chinese ports have come together into larger groups and on the international front there are parallel moves, bringing together disparate Chinese organisations to work more closely together.”

According to the agreements, the signing parties identified port development, acquisition and infrastructure constructions as the key fields for the parties to jointly explore project resources, project development plans, and carry out investment cooperation on mature projects.

CMPort will take part in applying major advantages and operational management experience to assess project opportunities and provide professional technical and management support to other parties. CADFUND and CPDFUND will make use of their institutional coverage and in-depth understanding on Africa and Portuguese speaking countries, to give full play to their capital operation capacity and assist the development and operation of the projects.

Dr Bai Jingtao, CEO of CMPort, singed the agreements on 18 October at the Sino-Portuguese investment and financing promotion conference, organised by the China Development Bank.

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