Yangshan to add seven berths in December, boosting annual capacity at world’s busiest port

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 September, 2017, 7:45am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 September, 2017, 7:45am

The Yangshan deep water port in Shanghai will start operating seven new berths on December 10, boosting the harbour’s annual handling capacity to 40 million containers, giving it the edge as the world’s busiest container port.

The seven new berths of the 12.8 billion yuan (US$1.95 billion) fourth phase of the port will boost the total capacity by 11 per cent, or 4 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), eventually expanding to 6.3 million TEUs a year. A press officer with Shanghai International Port Group, Yangshan port’s owner and operator, confirmed that the inauguration of the fourth phase will take place on December 10.

“Shanghai is determined to stay ahead of the competition in terms of port development,” said Xiao Yingjie, president of the Merchant Marine College at the Shanghai Maritime University. “Authorities and operators have been prioritising technologies and management to enhance the port of Shanghai’s international status.”

The harbour is equipped with some of the most advanced cranes, lifts and carriers with the latest technology in loading, discharging and transhipping cargo quickly and safely. As many as 130 automated guided vehicles (AGVs) will be deployed at the port, the largest number of automatons installed in any container terminals worldwide.

Yangshan began construction in 2002, and had 3 million TEUs of installed capacity when operations began three years later, kept busy by thriving trade emanating from the Yangtze Rover delta around Shanghai. By 2010, Shanghai had surpassed Singapore as the world’s busiest container port by volume.

Shanghai Port falls short of lofty goals despite huge cargo volume

China’s premier commercial centre handled 37.1 million TEUs of containers last year, an increase of 1.6 per cent from the previous year, retaining its crown among global container ports for the seventh year.

Still, most that activity was in service of domestic trade and commerce, with a mere 7.2 per cent of the traffic categorised as international transhipments, or cargo that’s sent onwards to other ports around the world.

Last year, Shanghai municipality set a target of 15 per cent for international transhipments by 2040.

Yangshan port is part of the free-trade zone (FTZ) that the city began building in 2013.

Technically, a FTZ is exempted from custom intervention. But Shanghai focuses on financial liberalisations, rather than loosening usual intervention, to develop its own FTZ.

Custom authorities in Shanghai have streamlined the process for customs clearance to just two hours from a day.

The efforts are made to quicken cargo flows to attract international container shipping companies to call at the local port and cargo owners to conduct transhipments via Shanghai.