Chinese economic cooperation with Turkey is yet to reach catalytic proportions and has been complicated by issues involving ethnic Uyghurs in China.

But COSCO, China’s state-owned shipping and logistics giant, is turning things around. It joined a consortium to buy a controlling stake in a Turkish container terminal, giving China’s new “Silk Road” route into Europe a big step forward.

COSCO Pacific, a subsidiary of shipping company China Ocean Shipping Co. (COSCO) entered a joint venture with two state-owned enterprises: the shipping firm China Merchants Holdings (International) and CIC Capital, a subsidiary of the state investment firm China Investment.

Kumport area in Port of Ambarli
Kumport area in Port of Ambarli

The joint venture bought about 65% of Kumport Terminal in the Port of Ambarli from Fina Liman Holding for $940 million, said China Merchants Holdings on Thursday. This will be China’s first facility in Turkey, and China Merchants linked the deal to China’s “belt and road” plans.

The terminal’s port is on the European side of the Marmara Sea about 35 kilometers from the Bosphorus Strait, a gateway to the Black Sea. COSCO Pacific said the terminal can handle 1.84 million standard containers a year, but the figure can grow to 3.5 million, reported Caixin. The terminal could also develop businesses with Piraeus Container Terminal in Greece, in which COSCO Pacific in an investor.

The remainder of the terminal is owned by the State General Reserve Fund in Oman.

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