China Port Plans Hit $20 Billion Mark
Chinese entities have doubled the value of overseas port projects targeted for investment since last year, potentially expanding China’s maritime and soft economic power at a rapid rate, according to the Financial Times.
A recent study by UK investment bank Grisons Peak found that Chinese companies plan to buy or invest in nine overseas ports.
Chinese port projects outside of China totalling of US$20 billion means this type of investment has gone up $9.97 billion in the year leading up to June, 2017.
This figure includes four projects in Malaysia: the $7.2 billion Melaka Gateway, the $2.84 billion Kuala Linggi Port, the $1.4 billion Penang Port and a $177 million in projects at Kuantan port.
The Chinese integrated regional port of Ningbo Zhoushan plans to invest $590 million into the Kalibaru project, an expansion of Tanjung Priok port In Indonesia.
China Merchants, a port operator, is mulling plans to build a large new container port at Klaipeda in Lithuania.
Other Chinese entities have considered investments at the Norwegian port of Kirkenes and at two Icelandic ports.
Chinese port purchases were sited in the regions dubbed “blue economic passages”, first announced by the government in June.
These passages are the China-Indian Ocean-Africa-Mediterranean passage; the China-Oceania-South Pacific passage; and a passage leading to Europe by way of the Arctic Ocean.
The Arctic Ocean route has thick ice which means it is not currently navigable by most ships, but is predicted to open up as the ice melts due to global warming. The Chinese government may possibly intend to speed opening of new shipping routes through the Arctic circle.
China’s government has previously laid out its “One Belt One Road” policy to forge market and diplomatic ties with 65 countries.
It also plans to secure sea lanes and establish itself as a maritime power.
Henry Tillman, chief executive of Grisons Peak, said: “In the past year, China has now announced . . . all three of its blue economic passages, so it is not surprising to see this significant level of increased investment in ports and shipping.”