Shanghai's Yangshan Port to expand capacity at automated terminal

Yangshan deep water port in Shanghai aims to expand handling capacity of its automated container terminal in a bid to reduce vessels’ waiting time and operating costs for ocean carriers. Jin Jian, General Manager of Shandong Container Terminal, operator of the Yangshan Port’s fourth phase, the world’s largest automated container terminal, told the South China Morning Post that the 2,350-meter facility is expected to handle 6.6 million TEU this year, surpassing the design capacity of 6.5 million TEU. “We are looking to make the terminal more intelligent and environment-friendly as we increase its capacity to better serve the container liners” he said. “An annual capacity of more than 7 million TEU is targeted as we expand computing power and make proper logistics arrangements.” Shandong Container Terminal is a subsidiary of the state-owned Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) which has made a CNY12.8 billion investment in the fourth phase of the expansion.

The automated terminal, which began operations in end-2017, handled about 2 million TEU in 2018. At present, 145 automated guided vehicles, the largest fleet of any container terminal worldwide, are used to handle loading, discharging and transport of containers round the clock, Jin said. He added that a quickened pace of handling containers could increase the appeal of the automated terminal, drawing more global container traffic. The 6.6 million TEU annual throughput amounts to over a quarter of the total container handling volume of 24 million TEU at Yangshan port in 2022.

Shanghai’s ports reported a total container throughput of 47.3 million TEU in 2022 as the city retained the title of the world’s largest port for the 13th consecutive year. Yangshan Port is linked to the 120 sq Lingang free-trade zone (FTZ) by the 32 km Donghai Bridge. The Lingang free-trade area was developed under instructions from President Xi Jinping in 2019, and is expected to evolve into a Hong Kong-style free port, with unhindered cross-border flow of capital, cargo and talent. Yangshan is also part of Shanghai’s FTZ. Construction of the deep water port began in 2002 following China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), which led to thriving trade emanating from the Yangtze River Delta around Shanghai. China’s tensions with the U.S. and other developed economies have dented its exports and imports this year.

China’s exports dropped for the fourth consecutive month in August, falling by 8.8% compared to a year earlier to USD284.9 billion, according to Customs data. The decline, however, narrowed from a fall of 14.5% in July, and was above the forecast by financial data provider Wind for a drop of 9.5%. Imports plunged by 7.3% year-on-year last month to USD216.5 billion, narrowing from a 12.4% decline in July, and exceeding the expectations from Chinese financial data provider Wind Information for a drop of 8.2%. “Shanghai will continue to defend its title as the world’s largest container port this year, and the port operator is determined to use more hi-tech and digital technologies to bolster the efficiency of the terminals,” said Xiong Hao, Assistant General Manager at Shanghai Jump International Shipping, the South China Morning Post reports.