Shanghai's throughput has increased year on year by 20% – from 316m tonnes to 380m tonnes in 2004 – ahead of Rotterdam's 354m tonnes, which was 8% up year on year. Bloomberg, quoting official port data which is often challenged by competing ports, reported that Shanghai container traffic rose 29%, to 14.6m 20-foot equivalent units (teu) over 2004; Rotterdam's was up by 16%.
None of this took away from Hong Kong, the reigning king of the container world. Just-released data from the SAR's Census and Statistics Department showed it handled 21.93m teu in 2004, a 7.3% increase on 2003, convincingly ahead of Singapore's 20.62m. But Singapore was up 14.1% year on year – a detail carrying a warning for slower-growing Hong Kong.
Shanghai International Port Group Co Ltd (SIPG) President Lu Haihu predicted in November that Shanghai would best everyone in total cargo throughput. Possibly he knew that China was set to increase its share of world trade by 7% in 2004 – much of that stemming from exports funneling through Shanghai.
SIPG itself rode the surge, boosting increasing cargo throughput 20% year on year in 2004 – making for a great lead up to its big project this year: an initial public offering in Hong Kong, aimed at raising up to US$800m to help finance its US$10bn Yangshan port complex. SIPG, one of China's better performing SOEs and owned by the Shanghai government, reportedly invited bids from Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and UBS to compete for the adviser's slot.