Shanghai to launch new marine fund

08:38, February 12, 2011      

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Shanghai has launched a 50 billion yuan ($7.6 billion) fund to invest in its shipping industry, as part of the city's plan to become an international shipping center by 2020, the local government said on Friday.

The fund, which has been in preparation for two years, plans to raise 5 billion yuan in its first phase of fundraising. But an official with the city's publicity office refused to reveal where the capital will be raised or when the fundraising process will stop.

The fund will mainly invest in ports, shipbuilding, modern logistics and modern shipping service industries.

A management company with registered capital of 200 million yuan has been created to oversee administration and fundraising.

China Shipping Investment Co Ltd, Guotai Junan Securities Co Ltd, Shanghai State-owned Assets Operation Co Ltd and Hongkou District State-owned Assets Operation Co Ltd all hold stakes in the management company.

The fund is set to boost Shanghai's shipping finance services, which are underdeveloped compared with other major maritime centers, analysts said.

Zheng Yang, executive vice-chairman of the Shanghai Finance Association, wrote in an article in January (on the website of the People's Bank of China) that Shanghai accounts for less than one percent of the global shipping finance market.

"Though it's growing rapidly, it is still a far cry from satisfying the demand for financing and resource allocation required of a global shipping center," Zheng wrote.

"The city should roll out more preferential polices to foster those services, in a move to build a comprehensive shipping finance system."

The launch of the fund comes after two shipping insurance centers were set up in Shanghai in December in another step to boost the city's maritime financial services.

The Shanghai-based China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co Ltd unveiled a shipping insurance operation center in the city on Dec 30 to provide services covering vessels, cargo transportation, maritime energy, port property and marine liabilities.

A similar body was also launched by PICC Property and Casualty Co Ltd, a subsidiary of the People's Insurance Co (Group) of China Ltd.

The financial upgrade in Shanghai's maritime industry will be accompanied by a boost for the shipbuilding infrastructure.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on Friday gave permission to China State Shipbuilding Corp to construct the second phase of a shipbuilding center on Changxing island near Shanghai.

The center will initially include two shipyards with a combined annual capacity of 15 vessels, most of which will be used for transporting liquefied natural gas and containers, the NDRC said in a statement on its website.

Source: China Daily
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