Korea beefs up transhipment ambitions

Busan plans on becoming a global trans-shipment hub to meet demand Busan plans on becoming a global trans-shipment hub to meet demand
Industry Database

The Korean government and Busan Port Authority (BPA) have unveiled plans to develop Busan Port into a global trans-shipment hub to meet the increase in demand and take advantage of future opportunities.

In recent years trans-shipment cargo at Busan has grown by 10% (average) year-on-year while local cargo has increased by 4.2%. In 2014, trans-shipment activities overtook local cargo operations for the first time in the port’s history with trans-shipment accounting for 50.5% (9.43 million teu) up from 31.7% in 2000.

As a first step, container handling activities currently undertaken at North Port and New Port will be integrated. This will include the construction of eight new berths at New Port by 2020 – a move that will add a further 6.21 million teu capacity.

With this, Busan Port aims to handle 13 million teu of trans-shipment cargo by 2020 ranking it number two in the world.

John Elliot, president and CEO of Busan New Container Terminal (BNCT), told Port Strategy: "We always hope for larger growth but in consideration of the global economy, it is better growth than many locations. However, transhipment has been outpacing the growth of local cargo by about 1% each year over the last several years."

"It [trans-shipment] is becoming increasingly important as the size of vessels continue to grow and the number of these large vessels increase in the market. Clearly our role is to continue to keep trans-shipment moving efficiently through Busan facilities and continually look for ways of further improvement," he added.

In addition, a feasibility study will look at further expansion to the western container terminal at New Port, while a feeder terminal for intra-Asian carriers will be created to serve the feeder network within the port.

Dredging to a depth of 17m is due to be completed ahead of schedule in March 2017 in order the meet the demands of ever-growing container ships. Todo Island, currently situated at the port entrance, will also be removed by 2019 and the entrance itself will be expanded by the end of 2018.

For the cargo handling itself, state-of-the-art, power-efficient container cranes and transfer cranes will be installed in the new facilities and the existing yard tractors will switch from oil power to electricity – a move expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 42%.

For the efficient transfer of trans-shipment containers, the current multi-purpose terminal sited between the north and south container terminals will be replaced by a yard tractor shuttle road and storage area, while the multi-purpose terminal will be relocated elsewhere. In addition, a new port-wide ITT platform will control all container movements.

By integrating all container handling at New Port, BPA says it gives North Port the opportunity to develop into a new maritime cluster accommodating maritime manufacturing, marinas, cruise terminals and other facilities.

To “generate economies of scale and to facilitate these new arrangements”, the four existing terminal operators at North Terminal will form a new unified joint venture company with BPA taking a shareholding.

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