Tianjin Port Co Ltd, a China-based port operator, has entered into an agreement with one of the world's leading container operators, CMA CGM Group, and Hong Kong-based Asia International Shipping to build and operate a container terminal in the port of Tianjin, north China.

The new terminal is expected to open for business in 2011, and will feature a 1,100m quay and have an annual capacity of 1.7m TEUs, according to a CMA-CGM press release.

“With this new investment, CMA CGM has secured a strategic base in Tianjin, which is the port offering the best prospects of growth in North China. This will further improve the quality of service offered to our vessels, and therefore to our customers,” Farid Salem, CMA CGM group chief executive vice-president, said.

CMA CGM and Asia International Shipping both hold 20 per cent stakes in the venture, which has a 50-year operating period. Tianjin Port Holding Co has a 60 per cent stake in the project.

Located 150km from Beijing , Tianjin port ranks 16th in the world in container traffic, with more than 7.1m TEUs handled in 2007, an increase of 19 per cent over 2006. Volumes grew 22 per cent in the first five months of 2008.