COSCO to further expand e-commerce footprint

Updated 2018-02-13 10:49:05 China Daily

Employees work on gantry cranes at a container yard operated by China COSCO Shipping Corp Ltd at the port of Piraeus in Greece. The company is planning to take full advantage of the opportunities that are likely to arise from the Belt and Road Initiative.

China COSCO Shipping Corp Ltd, the country's biggest shipping company in terms of container vessels, will continue to develop e-commerce business and other tailor-made services with domestic and global partners this year, a top official said on Monday.

Since 2017, the company has already sealed over 10 major business deals with domestic manufacturers, such as First Automobile Works Group and online shopping giant JD, to develop not only shipping business but also partnerships to strengthen cooperation in logistics, finance, technology and e-commerce, thereby enhancing its earnings ability amid fierce market competition.

The group operates 1,123 vessels including 422 bulk ships and 155 oil tankers across the world. Supported by its developed industrial chain, it is now able to operate 52 ports and 218 berths throughout the world in countries including Spain, Greece and Singapore via mergers and acquisitions over the past decade.

It will also raise its operational capacity for twenty-foot equivalent units, a measure of the capacity of container ships and terminals, to more than 2 million TEUs by the end of this year to capture greater market share from European rivals.

Yu Zenggang, executive vice-president of COSCO Shipping, said in addition to the pillar shipping business, the group will continue to deploy resources to logistics, industrial equipment manufacturing, financial and shipping services, investment, and operations linked to the development of the Belt and Road Initiative and China's "Internet Plus" development program.

"These businesses will effectively transform the group's shipping activities into a more diversified operation, which can take full advantage of the opportunities that are likely to arise from the Belt and Road Initiative and the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, and will encourage domestic companies to expand overseas," said Zhang Qi, a shipping industry professor at Shanghai Maritime University.

In January, COSCO Shipping said it will build two large container ships to serve in the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River. The ships will be built at the company's shipbuilding facility in Yangzhou of East China's Jiangsu province.

They are the first pair of six such ships which, upon completion, will be operated by the Wuhan New Port Administration Committee, based in Hubei province. All six vessels are expected to be put into operation by June 2019.

To further develop its global businesses, COSCO Shipping has also invested more than 17 billion yuan (.7 billion) in the infrastructure sector in markets such as Italy, South Korea, Egypt, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, which are related to the Belt and Road Initiative, between 2013 and 2017, including 14.5 billion yuan in port business.

The group launched its first China-Russia multimodal transportation service - by sea and rail - that kicked off last month in Tianjin, heading for Moscow with 46 containers. It takes 14 days to complete the 7,600-kilometer journey to Moscow.

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