Oakland, China Merchants sign export agreement
California's Port of Oakland and Chinese terminal operator China Merchants Holdings International (CMHI) have entered an agreement to strategically market and develop supply chain products for U.S. exports, particularly agricultural commodities and perishable products.
The deal was cemented last week at China Merchants' Hong Kong headquarters.
'Efforts will focus on enhancing warehousing and logistics facilities and creating seamless cold chain services for U.S. companies exporting their perishable products to China,' the port said.
Oakland serves as a key gateway for U.S. food products, including fruits, nuts, vegetables, meats and wines exported throughout the world.
'The port is aggressively coordinating its activities with the National Export Initiative. The purpose is to expand the Port of Oakland’s export cargo volume to help meet the U.S. government goal of doubling export volumes by 2015,' the port authority said in a statement.
China Merchants operates a network of ports in China’s coastal regions, including the Bohai region, Yangtze River Delta, Xiamen Bay Economic Zone, Pearl River Delta, and the Southwest region. In the first six months of 2009, CMHI handled nearly 25 million TEUs at its ports, terminals and logistics facilities in China.
'The form and scale of this partnership is a first for the U.S. port industry,' said Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar Benjamin. 'China is a significant and rapidly growing market for U.S. food and agriculture products, but the lack of cold chain services is inhibiting the export potential. Our initiatives will help make it easier, safer and faster to export U.S. commodities from California and distribute them throughout China.'
China Merchants recently formed a joint venture, China Merchants Americold Logistics Co., Ltd. (CMAC), with U.S.-based Americold, one of the largest cold chain providers in North America.
CMHI's first joint activity was a cold chain and logistics seminar on Nov. 11 at Chengdu in central China, which focused on the demand for U.S. products in the emerging markets of western China. The seminar was co-sponsored by the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service, and the California Agriculture Export Council.