SAO LUIS, Brazil, March 16 (Xinhua) -- A consortium led by China Communications Construction Company on Friday laid the foundation stone for the construction of a port here that aims to boost regional development and strengthen economic ties between China and Brazil.
The Port of Sao Luis project is being undertaken in collaboration with Brazilian companies WPR and Lyon Capital, and the Chinese company holds a 51 percent stake in it. Construction of the port will take four years and cost some 800 million reais (243.8 million U.S. dollars), while generating some 4,000 jobs.
Chinese Ambassador to Brazil Li Jinzhang said while attending the launching ceremony of the construction that the port is expected to drive regional development and attract more companies, including Chinese ones, to Brazil's northeast, an area already conducive to business.
The port will have an estimated annual handling capacity of 10 million tons of cargoes, of which 7 million will be grains -- especially soybean and corn. Some 1.5 million fertilizers and 1.5 million general cargoes will make up the rest.
In addition, the port is expected to be able to accommodate 1.8 million cubic meters of oil products.
Flavio Dino, governor of the Brazilian state of Maranhao -- of which Sao Luis is the capital city -- was also present at the ceremony. He wished the joint venture success.
The project is part of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China in 2013 to boost the development of infrastructure such as railways, roads, ports, pipelines and power grids. China has said the initiative is open to all nations wishing to join.
Highways and railways connecting the port with inland areas will also be built so that the transport of agricultural products produced in Maranhao to other states will be improved.
"Once the port is completed, it will integrate the logistics corridor of Brazil's northeast region ... solve some of the bottleneck issues Brazil faces in logistics," Chen Zhong, a representative of China Communications Construction Company, said at the ceremony.