The Virginia Port Authority announced that it has signed a one-year contract with Shanghai Ruinian Investment Management Co., Ltd., to represent the VPA in Northern China, particularly in the Shanghai area.

The firm’s president, Annie Kang, will coordinate her activities on behalf of the VPA through Ringo Chi, the VPA’s long-time marketing representative in Hong Kong. Chi will continue to cover Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southern China and Southeast Asia.

This appointment fulfills one of the recommendations from a state task force that called for VPA and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) to establish some form of direct representation in mainland China. Kang will work in concert with VEDP’s representative in China when the opportunity presents itself.

Kang has extensive experience in the shipping and logistics trade having served as the chief marketing representative in China for the Port of Oakland following a long career with ZPMC, the world’s largest crane manufacturer. The VPA has a long relationship with ZPMC as that company is the manufacturer of the port’s large container cranes.

“She has a lot of experience from her work with the Port of Oakland and ZPMC and her efforts will be focused on improving our relationship with China’s ocean carriers,” said Thomas D. Capozzi, the VPA’s senior marketing director. “We know China holds a lot of potential and now we’re very well positioned to capitalize on it.”

China is the port’s largest trading partner. In 2007, the value of Chinese imports coming into Virginia was $5.41 billion and the exports heading to China were valued at $1.48 billion.

In January, the VPA signed a similar agreement with a private firm to represent the port’s interests in India.