The Korean hub of Busan saw total container traffic expand 13.7 percent in February compared to a year earlier.
Exports and transshipment cargoes handled at the North Asian transshipment center each soared by 16.7 percent year-over-year, while imports expanded 5.4 percent.
However, compared to January of this year, exports increased just 5.6 percent, while transshipment cargoes, affected by the early Chinese New Year, contracted 18.1 percent.
Busan Port Authority expects to handle more than 8.2 percent traffic growth in 2012 after posting a gain of 14 percent year-over-year in 2011, when some 16.2 million 20-foot equivalent units passed over its berths.
Busan handles around 75 percent of South Korea’s container traffic each year and saw more rapid growth than the four container ports worldwide — Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Singapore — that also boast annual throughput of more than 15 million TEUs. Shanghai was the next best performer last year with growth of 9.2 percent. Shenzhen’s growth was negligible, Hong Kong managed 3 percent and Singapore grew just over 5 percent.
“Unlike many larger ports in other countries, Busan is very rarely affected by adverse weather conditions or fog,” said Ho Chul Park, Busan Port Authority’s Marketing Director.
“A port closed due to bad weather means extremely high excess fees for the shipper forced to wait until the port is re-opened, as well as disruption to global shipping schedules and routes.
“Stability and reliability are extremely important factors to consider for shippers selecting ports of call.”
He forecast that Busan’s transshipment traffic as a proportion of total throughput would rise from 45% now to 60% by 2020.
“Busan Port aims to continue to increase its status as the Northeast Asian transhipment hub of choice,” he added.
Contact Mike King at firstname.lastname@example.org.