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China Merchants-led joint venture buys Turkish container terminal
Kumport Terminal in Turkey

China Merchants-led joint venture buys Turkish container terminal

Chinese state-owned terminal operator China Merchants Holdings International (CMHI) is to acquire a 65% equity interest, worth US$940m, in Turkey’s Kumport Terminal as part of a consortium, in a move that furthers China’s “one belt, one road” strategy.

The Tripartite Consortium , which is a Luxembourg-registered joint venture made up of CMHI, Chinese terminal operator Cosco Pacific and China’s sovereign wealth fund CIC Capital Corporation, entered into a sale and purchase agreement on Wednesday (16 September) with the Istanbul-based Fina Holding A.S., which currently owns the stakes, and its individual shareholders.

Kumport, which is located within the Ambarli Port Zone on the northwest Marmara Sea, is the third largest container terminal in Turkey and is capable of accommodating the world’s largest container vessels currently.

Li Jianhong, chairman of CMHI, said: “With the promising economic prospects of Turkey, the hinterland of Kumport, its position as an important node situated along both the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road”, and with the Chinese government’s pursuance of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, strong growth potential for demand of container ports and logistics services is expected in the future.”

CMHI, Cosco Pacific and CIC Capital will have equity stakes of 40%, 40% and 20% in the Tripartite Consortium’s 65% share of the terminal, respectively, while the remaining 35% will be held by Oman’s State General Reserve Fund.

CMHI said that, although the container handling capacity of the terminal is just 1.84m teu at present, it can potentially be expanded to 3.5m teu.

In a results statement published at the end of August, CMHI’s parent company China Merchants Holdings (CMH) said that it had entered into a strategic cooperation framework with CMA CGM to investigate investment opportunities along the “one belt, one road” maritime corridor between Europe and China, with Terminal Link as a platform.

The company continued in the statement: “With its existing ports network highly coherent to “one belt, one road”, we have been looking for breakthroughs in the overseas portfolio, in terms of scale, strategic positioning and mode of development, by capitalising on the opportunities arising from the development of the “one belt, one road” initiatives.”