Future of transport

Shanghai port embraces new technology in arms race to defend global shipping hub status

Mainland container terminal operator to make better use of technology to innovate and grow to keep its position as the world’s largest shipping hub

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 December, 2017, 7:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 December, 2017, 11:59am

Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG), the dominant public terminal operator in the city, plans to make better use of internet and automation technologies to consolidate its leading position in the shipping industry worldwide.

SIPG said it aimed to create “smart, green, hi-tech and efficient terminals” to bolster Shanghai’s efforts to become an international shipping centre by 2020.

“Our three years of effort [to build new berths] have been worth it,” said Chen Xuyuan, the chairman of SIPG. “We will deepen innovation by using more technology, enhancing management efficiency and creating new business models.”

Yangshan Port, which is operated by SIPG, recently launched seven berths costing 12.8 billion yuan (HK$15.09 billion) as part of the fourth phase of its development.

The 2,350-metre harbour has 130 automated guided vehicles, the largest fleet of any container terminal worldwide.

SIPG said the operation of the fourth phase reflected its first step in building a port operating system in the digital era.

The group will analyse business data, make better use of the internet and the internet of things and reduce pollution to help support growth of the port.

Shanghai has been ranked as the world’s largest container port for seven consecutive years.

Last year, the port handled 37.1 million teu. The volume so far this year is up 1.6 per cent from last year.

The port is expected to process 40 million teu this year, according to SIPG.

Construction work at Yangshan began in 2002.

Buoyed by thriving trade emanating from the Yangtze River Delta around Shanghai, container throughput at Yangshan is expected to reach 17 million teu this year.

Yangshan is also part of Shanghai’s free-trade zone.

Xu Lirong, the chairman of China Cosco Shipping Corp, said the country’s largest ocean carrier would cooperate with SIPG to increase the flow of cargo, talent and capital through the port of Shanghai.

“Following the launch of the fourth phase of Yangshan Port, we will strengthen our cooperation with the Shanghai government to upgrade shipping services to help it consolidate the status of an international shipping centre,” he said.