January will see the official opening of a new $98m ro-ro terminal in the Port of Tianjin (pictured), the largest vehicle-handling port in northern China, located 170km southeast of Beijing.
The terminal is owned by TPG Global Ro-ro Terminal Co., a venture between Tianjin Port Stock Company (51 per cent), NYK (34 per cent) and WWL (15 per cent).
The terminal is designed to handle an annual throughput of 500,000 vehicles and covers 296,000m2. It will incorporate two ro-ro berths on a 565-metre quay, which will handle cars, high-and-heavy vehicles and static cargo.
WWL has a bi-weekly shuttle from Tianjin and Shanghai to Japan for transhipment to North and South America, as well as offering a monthly service to Europe from the port.
In addition to its new Tianjin activity, NYK has introduced a direct monthly eastbound ro-ro service to Shanghai beginning in January.
Commenting on the company’s service to China, NYK spokeswoman Christina Mann said: “As far as built-up cars to China are concerned, we see the trend being that manufacturers are calling at more ports in China, rather than relying on the historic routing of Hong Kong. As such, we would expect to see more ro-ro vessels calling directly at China [ports] in the future.”
Meanwhile, WWL and NYK are participating in another auto terminal joint venture, this time in India, with the country's largest private port – Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone. A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the three companies which will see an additional 200,000 vehicles go through the Port of Mundra per year.
Mundra has contracts in place with Maruti Suzuki and Nissan for export of cars to Europe beginning in January.