TL project in France: typical case of third-Party market cooperation under BRI

Updated: November 5, 2022 Source: China Merchants Group
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The terminal operated by Terminal Link (Photo privided by China Merchants Group)

In 2013, China Merchants Port invested 400 million euros to acquire a 49 percent stake in Terminal Link (TL), a terminal operator of CMA CGM, adding 13 container terminals to China Merchants Group (CMG) global port network in the Far East and Northern Europe.

CMA, headquartered in Marseille, France, mainly undertook business in the Black Sea region when it was just set up. In the late 1990s, it opened direct routes from the Mediterranean Sea to Northern Europe, the Red Sea, Southeast Asia and East Asia, and acquired CGM, France's largest state-owned shipping company, and Australian National Line (ANL), in 1996 and 1999 respectively. After 2005, CMA CGM became the No. 1 shipping company in France and the No. 3 in the world after several mergers and acquisitions. In July 2015, CMG and CMA CGM signed a strategic cooperation agreement on investment in and operation of ports, logistics and related infrastructure along the Belt and Road. The two parties have, with the joint venture company TL as a platform, jointly studied, made plans for, invested in, developed, constructed and operated the ports, logistics and related infrastructure along the Belt and Road, and made full use of their worldwide port, shipping and logistics networks to form a competitive tie with mutual benefits.

In recent years, Chinese enterprises have been guided by cooperation under Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) , deepened international production capacity cooperation, and actively carried out third-party market cooperation with enterprises from relevant countries, with the strengths of respective parties put into use and win-win results made for all. Based on its cooperation with CMG, TL, mainly serving CMA CGM before, has transformed into a public terminal operator, and further strengthened its efforts for expansion and strategic cooperation in third-party countries. In 2018, it started to make investment in the project of the Port of Thessaloniki in Greece.

In December 2019, CMG and CMA CGM entered into an agreement on the former's acquisition of the stake in 10 terminals owned by the latter in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean through TL. Upon completion of the transaction, TL will have stake in 23 terminals located in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean. Up to now, the stake in 8 of the 10 terminals involved in this transaction have been delivered, including that in terminals located in Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Ukraine, the Netherlands, and Jamaica. It means that CMG’s global port network has included 68 terminals. In 2019, China Merchants' TL project was included in the Guidelines and Cases of Third-Party Market Cooperation issued by the National Development and Reform Commission.

When carrying out port cooperation in third-party countries, China Merchants Port attached great importance to local employment and created a lot of jobs in countries where the project is underway. The group has also attached great importance to environmental protection, vigorously implemented environmental protection policies, strictly followed relevant laws and regulations, and encouraged the use of environmentally friendly energy only for terminal equipment and berthed vessels, thereby making important contributions to the green development of local terminals.

Editor: Yu Huichen