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Niche carriers cruise into new export markets

By Zhong Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-22 08:27

Niche carriers cruise into new export markets

A woman takes a selfie as the Neopanamax cargo ship, part of COSCO Shipping Panama, crosses the new Agua Clara locks. [Photo/Agencies]

A specialized subsidiary of China COSCO Shipping Corp is making major inroads in emerging markets through infrastructure development and new energy projects.

COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers Co has the world's largest fleet of niche ships and multipurpose vessels, and is now enjoying robust growth in Africa and South America.

This year, the carrier line has shipped tons of construction materials to Mombasa Port in Kenya for rail infrastructure projects as well as moving hydropower equipment to Luanda in Angola.

Locomotives, trams and freight trains have also been shipped to Port of Bahia Blanca in Argentina as the group expands into 50 countries in South America and Africa.

"Emerging markets are hungry for trade opportunities, infrastructure improvement, appliances and electronics," said Han Guomin, chairman of COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers.

"This has pushed eager manufacturers from China, South Korea, Europe and the United States to load their products on to vessels destined for Africa, South America and Southeast Asia," Han added.

Consumer demand and government-backed infrastructure projects are driving growth in these regions fueled by revenue from natural resources.

It has proved to be a lucrative market for COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers, which has a fleet of more than 120 ships worldwide.

These include heavy lift vessels, vehicle carriers, asphalt tankers and lumber containers.

"We have more than half of our ships serving between China and emerging markets," said Han.

Based in Guangzhou, the company shipped wind turbines, wind power systems, and mechanical and electrical products to Africa and South America this year.

Construction materials for building new power plants, and cement and sugar refinery factories were also transported to these new export regions.

"There are roads, dams, bridges, railway lines and various other government buildings that serve as testimony to China's construction capabilities," Han said.

"Now we are gearing up to participate in projects such as urban facilities, modern transportation and manufacturing," Han added.

Rising auto exports from China, South Korea and even Japan have helped fuel COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers' growth in routes to Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina in recent years.

In 2016, the group linked up with China Electronics Import and Export Co to play a leading role in the reconstruction project of Brazil's South Pole Station.

The shipping line's Yongsheng container was loaded with building materials and set sail from Shanghai to the South Pole in early November.

The journey lasted more than 120 days and covered 14,500 nautical miles, while the Yongsheng shipped 4,715 units of goods or 12,000 freight tons.

"Offering flexible services and cost-saving solutions to Chinese infrastructure project contractors and manufacturers will help domestic carriers secure stable income sources," said Chen Yu, a researcher at the Institute of Transportation Research under China's National Development and Reform Commission.

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