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Container volume at Shanghai ports to surge
( 2003-12-01 14:07) (Eastday.com)

Shanghai ports have delivered 10 million twenty-foot equivalent unit of containers so far this year and the city is expected to handle more than 11 million TEUs by the end of the year, which is likely to make it the world's third-largest port in terms of container volume.

A grand ceremony was held by Shanghai International Port Group at Waigaoqiao Port yesterday to celebrate the milestone event of the 10 millionth container handled.

Industry officials predicted that Shanghai will replace South Korea's Busan as the world's third-largest port this year, with rapid container growth backed by the burgeoning trade around the Yangtze River Delta region.

"The fast-growing economy in Shanghai and neighboring cities contributes the most to the container volume and it's now luring more international shipping lines to launch services to and from Shanghai," said an industry analyst surnamed Zhu with a local securities consulting firm.

Currently, there are 15 international shipping routes linking Shanghai with ports in Japan, Southeast Asia, the United States and Europe.

Local ports operate 1,049 shipping services monthly, up from last year's 1,032.

With the surge in container volume during recent years, local ports are now stretched to the limits, said Wang Lan, an analyst with Shanghai Shipping Exchange.

By the end of last year, local ports had handled about 34 per cent more than their designed capacity.

Shanghai international Port Group, operator of all of the city's ports, invested 110 million yuan (US$13.25 million) this year to improve existing port facilities.

The waigaoqiao port's fourth phase became operational in February, adding 1 million TEUs to the city's container handling capacity.

With its 30 per cent rise in annual throughput during the past decade, Shanghai overtook Taiwan Province's Kaosiung port to be the world's fourth largest container port last year when it handled 8.61 million TEUs, a 36 per cent surge from a year earlier.

Busan, which has been the world's third-largest port for years, is lagging behind in its container throughput traffic due to two large-scale strikes by dock workers this year and a typhoon in September which damaged facilities.

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