Busan New Port announced on 29 April that it will get an additional 15 berths to increase its annual container handling capacity by 15.8 million teu.
The South Korean government will oversee the expansion, which will comprise container terminals, feeder terminals, and multipurpose terminals.
Work will begin in stages based on actual cargo demand and will be under the co-ordination of the central government.
IHS Maritime understands that the South Korean government will spend KRW45 billion (USD42 million) to dredge the waters around the port with the aim of increasing the depth to 17 m, enabling ultra-large container ships to call at Busan.
Development began at Busan New Port in 1994 and it now operates 22 berths with an additional eight currently under construction. Total container throughput at Busan Port Authority (BPA) reached 18.68 million teu in 2014, with the new port accounting for 64%, or 11.93 million teu.
BPA president Lim Ki-tack said, “We are on track to achieve a total container throughput of 20 million teu by the end of this year, and our additional expansion plans will build on this success to cement the position of the port of Busan as one of the very top container ports in the world as well as the leading transhipment hub in northeast Asia. Alongside the creation of 15 new berths, we have exciting plans to develop an LNG bunkering facility by 2018 and continued growth of our logistics distripark.”
He continued, “Our aim is to continually develop the port and pre-empt the rapidly evolving maritime transport industry to ensure that the port of Busan remains a key part of the global logistics chain and a major contributor to the economic development of the region.”
In addition, to facilitate the flow of cargo between the old and new ports (a distance of 25 km), BPA is working on implementing an inter-terminal transfer (ITT) platform to optimise how trucks and trucking companies operate between the two facilities, and to reduce overall cost. This is the long-term strategy, though in the meantime, BPA will consider subsidising ITT costs.
These developments are announced against the backdrop of an anticipated growth in container trade, with northeast Asia expected to account for around 40% of the business by 2020.
An initial USD10 billion was invested in BPA by the South Korean government in 1994 and the first of the initially planned 30 berths in Busan New Port began operating in 2006.