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China Daily Website

COSCO shift focus to emerging markets

Updated: 2013-11-06 14:47
By ZHONG NAN in Ningbo (

China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO), the country's largest shipping operator, will strengthen its financial and resource support to shipping routes from China to Africa, South America and Southeast Asia over the next seven years, a top company official said. The strategy will help to further prevent unexpected risks caused by flagging markets in the United States and Europe.

Ma Zehua, chairman of COSCO, said COSCO had put its best resources on the trading routes among China, the US and Europe since 2003. Hurt by the global economic crisis, the slump in these markets and a supply glut in the industry has resulted in financial losses to the Chinese company for more than two years. Ma made the remarks during an interview with China Daily at the 2013 World Shipping (China) Summit held in Ningbo, Zhejiang province.

"Emerging markets such as Africa and South America have already become close trade partners with China, which offer abundant agricultural products and natural resources such as corn, soybean, iron and copper ores to various Chinese buyers and are keen to gain industrial goods from the China market," said Ma.

To seek more market growth points, Ma said COSCO's new shortcut routes to Europe and North America via the Arctic Northeast Passage is another new trial to further diversify the company's service categories.

The Chinese shipping giant reported an annual net loss of 9.56 billion yuan ($1.54 billion) in 2012, due to the downturn in the dry-bulk market, which had seriously depressed shipping rates. It may be delisted from the main board if the company cannot return to profit this year.