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COSCO forms strong anchor for Boston port

By Zhang Yuwei (China Daily)

16:35, March 06, 2012

A fully laden COSCO container ship leaves Qingdao Port, Shandong province. Wei Jiafu, chairman of COSCO, said that Chinese companies need to seize opportunities in the US market. (Photo/China Daily)

China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company, or COSCO, the largest shipping group of China, has been recognized in Massachusetts for its contribution in helping the ailing US economy and job market.

The recognition comes a decade after the State-owned Chinese company opened a direct service between China and Boston, saving about 9,000 jobs in the New England area.

In March 2002, COSCO decided to open a direct vessel service to the Port of Boston after the Danish shipping giant Maersk Line, part of AP Moller-Maersk Group, closed its lines to the port.

Over the past 10 years, COSCO's cooperation with the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), known as the "COSCO-Massport model", has preserved more than 34,000 jobs, said David Mackey, the interim CEO of Massport.

On March 2, the 10th anniversary of the start of the service, COSCO's Chairman, Captain Wei Jiafu, received an "International Business Leader" award from the Coalition of New England Companies for Trade in recognition of the Chinese company's continued support.

"In the last 10 years as the global economy rose and fell, through good and bad times, no matter what, COSCO kept its promise and remained at the Port of Boston. It saved jobs and created more (jobs)," said Wei.

Two years after opening the service, Premier Wen Jiabao visited Boston's Conley Terminal, where he praised the COSCO-Massport relationship as a model that other Chinese and US businesses should follow.

To acknowledge China's support, Massport and the International Longshoremen's Association, the largest union of maritime workers in North America, nominated Wen a "Best Friend of the American Worker" at an event to mark the 10th anniversary of the relationship.

Zhang Yesui, the Chinese ambassador to the US, who collected the award on behalf of Wen, said the COSCO-Massport model reflects the win-win economic relationship between the US and China.

Zhang said the relationship shows that the two powers are cooperating in a full range of areas and Chinese business and trade can make a contribution to the US economy and help create jobs.

Zhao Qizheng, spokesman for the ongoing annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, also cited the COSCO-Massport model as a good template for Chinese companies going global.

Recalling how he was approached by Jane Swift, who was the governor of Massachusetts then, Wei said he saw the approach as a long-awaited opportunity for COSCO, a Stated-owned company that was considered by some people in the US as "somewhat different (with a negative connotation)".

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