Shanghai on track for world No3 port status

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 January, 2007, 12:00am

Terminal operator sees 20pc rise in box volume as Yangshan surpasses target

Shanghai Port, the busiest on the mainland, handled 20 per cent more containers last year as a full-year contribution from Yangshan Port surpassed the target set by the Shanghai government.

Port operator Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) handled 21.71 million 20-foot equivalent units (teu) last year, compared with 18 million teu a year earlier.

The volume may secure Shanghai's position as the world's No3 terminal after Singapore and Hong Kong, which is expected to report a throughput of more than 23 million teu last year after moving 21.4 million teu in the first 11 months, up 3.5 per cent from a year earlier.

Yangshan Port Phase I, which came onstream in December 2005, lifted 3.23 million teu last year, overshooting its three-million-teu target. SIPG has cut charges as much as 50 per cent as an incentive for ships to use Yangshan as an international transshipment hub.

An industry executive has said Hong Kong would be dislodged by mainland ports as the world's second-largest container port in three years.

'The problem of cross-border transportat between Hong Kong and the mainland must be fixed if Hong Kong port wants to stay competitive,' said Modern Terminals Ltd managing director Sean Kelly last month.

Volume at Shenzhen Port, Hong Kong's direct competitor, grew 13.8 per cent in the first 11 months of last year to 16.8 million teu.

SIPG, 26.5 per cent owned by port operator China Merchants Holdings, is in talks with foreign port operators and shipping lines over the acquisition of Yangshan Port Phase II.

Yangshan Port Phase I has five berths built on a 1,600-metre quay to accommodate five to six container ships with up to 8,000 teu capacity. Phase II, with a 1,400-metre quay, will be developed with four berths.

SIPG will transfer all European services to Yangshan Port Phase I from the Weigaoqiao complex from this month and all South American services to Yangshan in October. With the opening of Yangshan Phase II, US East Coast services will be moved there next year.

Yangshan Port Phase III is expected to come into operation at end of this year. It will have more than 30 berths with 15 million teu of capacity when completed by 2012.

China's Ministry of Communications has forecast that the mainland's container throughput will reach 93 million teu this year amid robust demand driven by growth in the global economy.