[photopress:China_Railway.jpg,full,alignright]Five overseas firms have said they will invest in 18 railway container-distribution centers in China. This is a major step forward in the financial reform of the country’s railway sector.
The Ministry of Railways said China United International Rail Container has been formed to build and operate the 18 centers. The centers will be located in regional economic centers throughout the country.
China Railway Container Transport, an affiliate of the Ministry of Railways, will be the biggest shareholder in the new firm, with a 34% stake. China International Marine Containers will hold 10%.
The Hong Kong-listed NWS Service Management Ltd will hold 22% while Hong Kong Promisky Investment Ltd will hold 10%.
The Israel-based Zim Integrated Shipping Services, France-based CMA CGM Group and Germany-based Deutsche Bahn AG will each take 8% stakes.
Ministry spokesman Wang Yongping described the establishment of the joint venture as ‘a milestone in the history of China’s railway development. It also fully reflects our resolve to accelerate the financial reform of the railway sector.’
The new company will design, build and operate a network of 18 rail terminals in transport hubs such as Shanghai, Kunming in the southwest, and Urumqi in the northwest. They will start operation in 2010. An initial assessment of the plan to build the 18 centers forecast investments worth at least RMB12 billion ($1.60 billion).
The ministry said it hoped having overseas investors would help introduce new management concepts and sharpen railways’ competitiveness in the container transport market.