Mitsubishi enters the container business


In a company first, Mitsubishi has made its first steps into the shipping industry, forming a joint acquisition share in Valencia, Spain.

In a partnership with port harbour transport company, Kamigumi Co. Ltd (KG), Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) has acquired a joint share of 25 percent in Valencia’s Port Container Terminal (TCV Stevedoring Company S.A.) from Spanish global container operator, Grup Maritim TCB, S.L. (Grup).

This strategic partnership hopes to greatly benefit all parties involved. Not only will this allow Mitsubishi an entry point in an industry set to grow exponentially, but also raises expectations for Grup and possible plans for further expansion into foreign territories, including Asia and Africa.

In the past 20 years, the container industry has seen remarkable growth. So much so, that at a rate of 9.5 percent per annum, it has outpaced the speed of increase in GDP over the same period (3.5 percent).

As such, MCs entrance via the Valencia Port Container Terminal comes as a reflection of the Japanese government’s plan to promote the export of infrastructure related industries and systems world wide, and jump on the back of a capitally incentive industry.

Simultaneously, the investment grants Grup the chance to further strengthen international projects and expansions for port operations worldwide. With more than 200 offices and subsidiaries in 90 countries worldwide and a multinational workforce of 65,975 people, MC is set to greatly increase Grup’s international hold.

According to Grup CEO, Xavier Soucheiron, “for our company, the relationship with MC is strategic not only because it will strengthen TCV activity, but mainly because we are focusing on new geographies where MC could help us grow.”

This is already apparent at the newly supported container terminal. Over the coming months, plans for significant investment and enhanced technologies are set to greatly increase the 700,000 TEU already passing through its gates.

This includes expansion of the container yard to 45 hectares, and the deployment of automatic gates with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to speed up terminal access and cargo traceability.

Grup will also invest in another super post-Panamax crane and four rubber tyre gantry cranes (RTGs) to cope with increased demand.

Furthermore, in another first, the company will install the first crane in the world to be fully illuminated by LED spotlights, in compliance with the terminal’s environmental management system.

At this moment in time, the Port of Valencia handles up to 4.5 million TEU annually, and serves as Spain’s main hinterland port. The port acts as a transhipment hub for neighbouring Mediterranean countries, and is the largest container port in the region.

More than half of the traffic that moves through the port can be accredited to trade between Valencia and ports in Asia.

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