Crane vehicles lift containers to be shipped abroad from trucks on a quay at the Port of Qingdao in Qingdao city, Shandong province. Photo: AFP

COSCO Shipping Ports will acquire a 16.82% stake in Qingdao Port International (QPI), operator of China’s sixth busiest port, the company said on Sunday, expanding its network.

Under the agreement, Shanghai China Shipping Terminal Development, a subsidiary of COSCO Shipping Ports, will pay 5.8 billion yuan (US$844 million) for the shares in QPI.

The deal, to be settled through a combination of equity and cash, will boost COSCO’s share in the Qingdao firm to 18.41%, added the company in a statement.

COSCO has been extending its port network with several large deals around the world in recent years.

The companies also agreed to cooperate to develop Qingdao port into an international shipping hub in Northeast Asia and to co-invest in overseas terminal projects including the Khalifa Port Container Terminal II project in Abu Dhabi.