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North Bund moves closer to realising shipping hub dreams

North Bund moves closer to realising shipping hub dreams

Shanghai: Seven major companies have agreed to buy properties in the city's North Bund for a combined 7 billion yuan (US$1.03 billion), the Shanghai Daily reported yesterday. The buyers, central government-owned Sinochem Corp, China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co, China Shipping (Group) Co and local government-controlled Shanghai Land Group, Shanghai Construction Group and Shanghai International Port (Group) Co, as well as Switzerland's Mediterranean Shipping Co, signed agreements with Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal Development Co on Saturday.

"It's a fresh effort to boost domestic demand, and in line with central government's directive to stimulate domestic growth," said Sinochem President Liu Deshu. "We will continue to participate in the development of Shanghai and invest here." Beijing-based Sinochem, China's top chemical trader, has been tapping the real estate sector, and it owns a stake in Shanghai's Jin Mao Tower.

Before the contract signing event, city Mayor Han Zheng met executives from the companies. "The North Bund project could get a major boost with such elite companies now becoming property owners here," Han said. Shanghai is developing the North Bund, in Hongkou District, into a shipping-related service cluster by building cruise terminals, hotels, offices, commercial buildings and other properties since 2002, with total investment set to pass 40 billion yuan.

An official from the cruise terminal development company said about 80 percent of the North Bund project has been done. Besides the Yangshan Deep-Water Port, the downtown project along the Huangpu River is also a key strategy in Shanghai's plan to become an international shipping center. [18/11/08]