The South Korean port of Gwangyang is planning to deepen and widen its Fairway 3 to better cater to bigger ships.
Currently, Fairway 3 is 22 m deep and 380 m wide. It is one of Gwangyang port’s seven fairways.
Yeosu Regional Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Office, which oversees Gwangyang and Yeosu ports, said in an announcement on 8 July that it is hoped that deepening the waters would reduce demurrage costs that charterers incur, as a result of vessel delays.
“The waters have a depth of up to 22 m, but the accumulation of sediments has reduced the maximum draught to 18.5 m. There is a thus a need to dredge up the sediments to enable ships of over 250,000 dwt to call at Gwangyang,” said the office.
The fairway would be widened to 480 m.
Gwangyang, which caters mainly to bulkers and container ships, said the plans would facilitate safe navigation of large ships when approaching or departing the harbour.
POSCO Engineering & Construction has been appointed to undertake the dredging works, which are expected to take 10 months to complete.
The office said 1,714,936 m³ of materials over an 808,335 m² area are expected to be dredged.
While Gwangyang is South Korea’s second-busiest container port after Busan, with 2,336,000 teu in throughput during 2014, Incheon is closing in on the gap, with 2,334,970 teu in throughput.
Gwangyang has maintained it would like to grow its container volumes, even as Incheon is marketing itself as a gateway for Chinese exports to the South Korean hinterland.