The Singapore-based NOL Group has opened a new container terminal at the Port of Qingdao, China, with the arrival of the APL Dubai. The facility opened well ahead of its original target date of the second half of 2011. It was constructed under a joint venture known as Qingdao Qianwan United Container Terminal Co., Ltd. (QQCTU), involving NOL and SITC International Holdings Co. Ltd., a China-based shipping logistics company. The terminal primarily will serve vessels operated by APL, a subsidiary of NOL, and SITC. The inaugural call by the APL Dubai was made as part of APL's West Asia Express service. APL makes more than 200 port calls annually at Qingdao, linking the city and surrounding Shandong province to international markets throughout the carrier's global shipping network. The facility has an annual capacity of 1.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). It is equipped with seven post-Panamax cranes and 16 rail-mounted yard gantry cranes. In a related development, NOL Group has signed contracts for 12 new container vessels. The ships will be built by Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. and Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. Daewoo Shipbuilding will produce two vessels of 9,200 TEU, while Hyundai is responsible for 10 ships of 14,000 TEUs. Upon delivery in 2013 and 2014, five of those ships will be chartered by NOL to a space-sharing partner, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, for deployment by the New World Alliance.
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