President Macapagal-Arroyo visited International Container Terminal Services, Inc.‘s (ICTSI) terminal in Shandong Province as part of her two-day state visit to the People’s Republic of China.

The president visited the Yantai Rising Dragon International Container Terminal (YRDICT) to see the Philippines’ first foray into the Chinese port market. ICTSI is the only Philippine company to gain a foothold in the highly competitive Chinese port market.

The president was welcomed by ICTSI and YRDICT officers led by Enrique K. Razon Jr., ICTSI chair. After a brief viewing of terminal developments, she signed the terminal’s guest book and later gamely posed with ICTSI and YRDICT officers and with Shandong Province and Yantai City officials for a souvenir photo.

Provincial and city officials had worked feverishly on welcome preparations as this was the first time that a Philippine president had visited a Chinese terminal and Yantai City itself. Before going to the terminal, government officials briefly toured the president around Yantai’s scenic attractions.

In January 2007, ICTSI, through one of its holding companies ICTSI (Hong Kong), Ltd., signed a joint venture contract with Yantai Port Group Co. Ltd. and SDIC Communications Co. to buy 60% of the shareholdings of Chinese port operator, Yantai Gangtong Container Terminal Co., Ltd. (YCT). YCT had been managing the Yantai Gangtong Terminal in Shandong Province. Yantai Port Group and SDIC, both state-owned corporations each retained 20% shareholdings in YCT.

The joint venture contract, with a term of 30 years, was approved by the People’s Republic of China in March of the same year. The conversion of YCT into a Sino-foreign joint venture enterprise under PRC laws was also approved. ICTSI subsequently renamed YCT to Yantai Rising Dragon International Container Terminals Ltd. (YRDICT). The joint venture is widely seen as proof of growing reciprocal trade ties between China and the Philippines, with China being the recipient of foreign inward investment.

One of the leading terminals in China, Yantai has been experiencing rapid growth in containerized and ro/ro cargo. It is at the eastern tip of the Shandong Peninsula, bordering the Yellow Sea and Bohai Bay, and lies across the heavy industrial base in northeast China as well as South Korea and Japan. The port area consists of three parts: Zhifu Bay, Western Port and Penglai Port.