China Cosco Unit Takes 25% Stake in New Egyptian Container Port

05 Apr 2023

By Zhang Yukun and Li Rongxi, Caixin

A unit of state-owned China Cosco Shipping Corp. Ltd. will invest in a 25% stake in a new container terminal in Egypt, as the shipping giant seeks to expand its presence in emerging markets.

Cosco Shipping Ports Ltd. has signed an agreement for the equity investment in Sokhna New Container Terminal, a project at the south entrance of the Suez Canal, the Hong Kong-listed port operator announced on Thursday. The operating period will be 30 years and the total investment around $375 million, it said.

The new investment plan came as Cosco, the world’s third largest container fleet operator as of the end of 2022, eyes global expansion. In its 2022 interim report, Cosco Shipping Ports said it would “focus on emerging markets such as Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa to enhance the regional diversification of its terminal asset portfolio.”

Cosco Shipping Ports will form a venture with partner companies to construct and operate the terminal, the statement said. The throughput capacity after completion will reach 1.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

Located in the Red Sea region, the Port of Sokhna is about 120 kilometers east of Cairo and adjacent to the Suez Canal Economic Zone, a 460.6-square-kilometer area that will be developed into an industrial and technological center of Egypt and a global logistics hub, Cosco Shipping Ports said in the same announcement.

It’s not the first time that the terminal operator has invested in an Egyptian port, as it already owns a non-controlling stake in Port Said Suez Canal Terminal, according to the announcement.

Cosco Shipping Ports’s terminal portfolio covers China, Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, South America and Africa, the company’s statement said.

Its previous investments have included terminals including the Piraeus Port Terminal in Greece, the Euromax Terminal Rotterdam in the Netherlands and the COSCO-PSA Terminal in Singapore.

By the end of 2022, the company operated and managed 367 berths at 36 ports worldwide with a combined annual handling capacity of 122 million TEUs.

Cosco Shipping Ports had intended to acquire a 35% stake in Container Terminal Tollerort at the port of Hamburg, but settled for 24.9% following opposition from members of the German government.

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