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China builds port in Peru as part of Belt and Road initiative

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China builds port in Peru as part of Belt and Road initiative

Robert Besser
21 Jan 2024, 15:18 GMT+10

  • To accelerate trade with South America, China has built a deep-water mega port in Chancat, Peru, worth US$3.5 billion, scheduled to start operations late in 2024
  • The port will provide China with a direct gateway to the region and its valuable resources, including soy, corn, and copper
  • Majority-owned by Chinese state-owned company Cosco Shipping, the port will be the first controlled by China in South America

LIMA, Peru: To accelerate trade with South America, China has built a deep-water mega port in Chancat, Peru, worth US$3.5 billion, scheduled to start operations late in 2024.

The port will provide China with a direct gateway to the region and its valuable resources, including soy, corn, and copper.

Majority-owned by Chinese state-owned company Cosco Shipping, the port will be the first controlled by China in South America. It will also be able to accommodate the largest cargo ships that can travel directly to Asia, cutting the journey time by as much as two weeks.

In an interview with Reuters, Juan Mathews Salazar, trade minister of Peru, said, “The Chancay mega port aims to turn Peru into a strategic commercial and port hub between South America and Asia.”

The new port is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which has enabled Beijing to win new economic allies and gain leverage in political forums, finance, and technology.

Full construction of the port began in 2018 at Chancay, some 50 miles north of Lima, and its first phase is set to be completed in November 2024.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is expected to attend an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Peru that month, could inaugurate the mega port.

Mario de las Casas, corporate affairs manager for Cosco Shipping, which holds a 60 percent stake in the port, said, “It is part of China’s new Silk Road.”

The remaining 40 percent stake in the port is owned by the local mine company Volcan.

The project would accelerate regional development, said Jose Adriano da Silva, a farming entrepreneur from Brazil’s western Acre state who visited the port.

Clemente Baena Soares, Ambassador of Brazil to Peru, who also visited Chancay in September, said, “It is an opportunity for grain and meat production, especially from Rondonia, Acre, Mato Grosso and Amazonas, to go to Asia through the port of Chancay.”

“Brazilian businesses are delighted with the possibility of not using the Panama Canal to take their goods to Asia,” he added.

China surpassed the U.S. on trade in South and Central America under former President Donald Trump, and under President Joe Biden, the gap has widened despite attempts to reverse it.

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