China Merchants Port reports that it has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with e-commerce giant Alibaba, along with Alibaba fintech subsidiary Ant Financial (formerly known as Alipay), to work together on the construction of “an open and interconnected digital port logistics ecosystem.”
The three parties have committed to finding new ways of integrating port services, internet connectivity, Big Data and financial services, to deliver new service models for international trade.
The move is seen by the firms as being complementary to China’s ‘Belt and Road’ development strategy, which China Merchants Group (CMG) is already a participant in, and will include a focus on the countries that are included in that infrastructure development project.
State-owned CMG is headquartered in Hong Kong, and has developed 68 ports in 27 countries as part of a network of international ports, logistics, finance and industrial parks. In 2019, the Group’s collective container throughput reached 112.99 million TEUs, with bulk cargo throughput hitting 490 million tons.
In addition to its ports business CMG also has a fleet of 366 vessels, with particularly strong VLCC fleet (very large crude carrier) and VLOC (very large ore carrier) contingents.
The official confirmation of the strategic partnership agreement with Alibaba and Ant Financial was carried out remotely due to current travel restrictions, and featured a ‘blockchain signing’ ceremony verifying the deal, involving representatives of the respective companies located in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Hangzhou.