SHANGHAI: The third-phase construction of Yangshan Deep Water Port was finished yesterday, expanding the annual throughput of the port to 9.3 million TEUs (20-foot-equivalent units), said an official with the project company.
Liu Zuoliang, chairman of Shanghai Tongsheng Investment Group and also the vice director of the port project, said the completed north part of Yangshan Port is equipped with 16 berths along a 5.6-kilometer waterfront.
Starting construction in June 2002, the Yangshan Port has become a new engine of development at the Shanghai Port, which has replaced Hong Kong as the world's second largest container port after Singapore.
Concerning the unfolding financial crisis, Liu admitted it had affected the port industry. "In the first 11 months this year, Yangshan Port's container handling capacity has increased 9 percent year-on-year, a sharp drop from the same time last year," said Liu.
In addition, shipping freight from Shanghai to Europe has slumped from $1,300 to $200 per container this year alone, Liu added.
However, Shanghai government is confident the current financial turbulence would not affect the construction plan of Yangshan Port, which will build 30 berths on a 10-kilometer waterfront, able to handle 15 million TEUs each year upon completion.
As early as 2009, construction of the port's west part will start, which will come into use gradually from 2010 through 2013.
According to Liu, the west part will include 10 to 12 berths, and have a designed capacity of 7 million TEUs.
"We will not slow the construction speed in the face of the temporary market slump, because we expect the Yangshan Port to bring Shanghai another economic boom," Liu said.