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China COSCO Holdings Co. Ltd. said on Tuesday it would spend US$516.8 million to build eight container ships, aiming to satisfy demand and maintain competitiveness.

Each ship would be able to carry the equivalent of 5,100 twenty-foot containers.

The company, China's largest container shipping firm, said in a statement that Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) Co. Ltd., a unit of China State Shipbuilding Corp. Ltd., would build the ships.

The first two would be delivered on June 30, 2009 and the other six would be delivered in pairs in October 2009, February 2010 and June 2010.

The Hong Kong-listed company said it would fund the deal by bank borrowings and internal resources.

Shares of China COSCO rose about 8 percent over the two weeks to Monday, when they closed at HK$3.725.

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