Container port is world's No 2 in Q1

By Miao Qing (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-05-17 06:53

SHANGHAI: Shanghai Port handled more than 5.88 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) in the first quarter, overtaking Hong Kong to become the world's second largest container port during the period.

According to statistics from the Shanghai Port Administration Bureau, Shanghai Port handled 28.1 percent more containers during the first quarter than it did during the same period last year.

The Yangshan Deepwater Port, which currently has nine berths operating and is still under construction, contributed 1.22 million TEUs from January to March. It is on track to become the country's biggest port.

Statistics from the Hong Kong Port Development Council show that Hong Kong handled about 5.5 million TEUs in the first quarter, up 2.3 percent compared with the same period last year.

That amount is still 380,000 TEUs less than the amount handled in Shanghai, which has pushed Hong Kong into third place in port standings.

According to, an official source for information on the country's shipping industry, the quarter marks the first time that Shanghai Port has exceeded Hong Kong in terms of container throughput.

Singapore remained the No 1 port worldwide, handling 6.58 million TEUs in the first quarter, a 14-percent increase over last year.

Some industry insiders estimate that Shanghai Port will continue growing and will overtake Hong Kong outright to become the world's second largest container port by the end of the year.

In 2006, Shanghai Port reached a throughput capacity of 20 million TEUs, a record for the city, and the figure was approximately 18.1 million TEUs in 2005. Shanghai Port has been the third largest container port in the world after Singapore and Hong Kong since the end of 2003. Its container throughput capacity has maintained a growth rate of more than 20 percent in the past three years.

"Actually, it is still too early to predict whether Shanghai Port will exceed Hong Kong by the year's end. Container throughput is variable and depends on how shipping companies arrange their shipping routes," said Tu Deming, a senior engineer with China Ports & Harbor Association.

"Meanwhile, container throughput capacity is not the only index to evaluate a port economy," Tu added.

He attributed the fast growth of Shanghai Port's container throughput to the dynamic economic development and international trade in the Yangtze River Delta, and also to the more cargo is being transported along the Yangtze River from the country's hinterland.

The growth rate of Hong Kong's container throughput rate has slowed recently because several ports emerging in South China have grown very quickly, posing a threat. Statistics show that the Shenzhen Port reached a throughput capacity of 4.53 million TEUs, making it No 4 in the world, following Hong Kong.

"The port industry is essentially one kind of service industry. If ports can offer efficient services and help to reduce shipping costs, shipping companies will be attracted to dock their ships there, and that creates container throughput," said Tu.

(China Daily 05/17/2007 page5)

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