THREE maritime companies have signed an agreement to expand the container terminal in Japan’s Port of Kobe, potentially creating the largest terminal in western Japan.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, K Line and Kobe-Osaka International Port signed a memorandum of understanding for the Port Island Phase 2 Development Project on 26 July.

Kobe-Osaka International Port is undertaking the phase 2 South Pier expansion and improvement at the port.

Once the South Pier expansion wraps up in 2025, MOL would add another berth and the land behind the terminal to its lease and expand Kobe International Container Terminal (KICT).

MOL currently leases the terminal and operates berths along with Sumitomo Warehouse and Nickel & Lyons.

Under the MoU, K Line – which currently operates a container terminal at Rokko Island in Kobe, would also join KICT.

MOL said KICT would then handle about 40% of international container trade at the Port of Kobe, positioning it as the largest terminal in western Japan.

“The expanded KICT will have a total wharf length of 1750 metres, up from the current 1050 metres, providing more flexible berth windows and streamlining connections for containers with other routes,” MOL said.

“Furthermore, a container freight station directly connected to the terminal and a logistics facility with an overhead crane that can move larger cargo, will be built on the land behind the terminal, offering one-stop service from loading of cargo containers to delivery to the terminal.

“MOL Group company Shosen Koun Co., Ltd. will operate these facilities, delivering convenient and competitive logistics services to customers throughout the group.”

MOL said the Port of Kobe has been an important base for its domestic business for many years. Its group companies currently operate at the port, logistics, tugboat and real estate businesses.