Shanghai port is poised to overtake Singapore this year as the world’s busiest, handling a projected 30 million standard 20-foot container units (TEUs) over the course of 12 months. Last year, Singapore’s TEU throughput was 27.9 million. In the first quarter of 2007, Shanghai overtook Hong Kong to become the world’s second-largest container port, growing 28% year-on-year.
Shanghai port includes 42 container terminals, which are concentrated at either Yangshan’s three terminals, the newer deepwater facility situated 32.5 kilometers out in Hangzhou Bay, or at Waigaoqiao’s terminals, along a shallower strip of water north of the city, at the mouth of the Yangtze. Last year, of Shanghai’s total TEU throughput, 60% of traffic was at Waigaoqiao and 40% at Yangshan.
Though both areas handle container traffic, their business is complementary. Yangshan handles Sino-European shipping lines and some intra-Asian traffic, while Waigaoqiao is for trans-Pacific traffic and is a transshipment point for goods heading up the river. Yangshan’s 15-meter deep facilities allow the world’s biggest ships – with loads up to 10,000 TEU at a time – enough draft to berth.