New Shanghai port to bid terminals

New Shanghai port to bid terminals

Construction of the first phase of Shanghai's new deepwater port at Yanshan is going faster than expected and will be complete by late next year, according to a report in Monday's Financial Times.

Progress is so good that the port is already preparing to open tenders for foreign terminal operators to bid on building new terminals at the port. The first terminal is expected to open in 2006.

The port plans to consider bids for the operation of the second terminal, which should be ready to open in early 2007, according to Zhang Huimin, vice director of the Yangshan port project. "This is what we will do in the second half of this year," he told the newspaper.

The world's biggest shipping companies and terminal operators are expected to compete strongly to run terminals in Shanghai. Port operators and shippers see this as a place to be, because it is the largest commercial opportunity on the horizon, said Zhang.

The city is rushing to complete the first stage of the port by late next year to keep up with the explosion of container traffic, which doubled in the three years to 2003 to 11.3 million TEUs per year.

Shanghai, which now ranks third in the world in container traffic behind Hong Kong and Singapore, is expected to overtake them in the next three to five years at present rates of growth.

The port, which is being built on reclaimed land along a string of craggy islands connected to the mainland by a 19-mile bridge across open seas, is one of the largest and most complicated infrastructure projects in China. Shanghai was forced to build a deepwater port because the waters surrounding its present terminals are too shallow for modern container ships.

By the time it is completely finished in 2020, he port will have the capacity for 50 large container berths and will have cost at least $106 billion.