A containership is berthed at Yangshan Port in Shanghai in April. (ZHU XINGXIN/CHINA DAILY)
An empty container transportation center began operations at the Shanghai port on Saturday.
With an annual throughput of 3 million twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs, the center is expected to further strengthen the world's largest container port's handling capability, boost domestic and foreign trade, and solidify Shanghai's status as an international shipping center, official sources said.
The new center will help us to apply digitalized and intelligent management to promote communications between ports and shipping enterprises, so as to provide empty container services for shipping operators as well as customers in Northeast Asia, along the Yangtze River Delta region, and areas along the Yangtze River
Gu Jinshan, Chairman of Shanghai International Port Group
Located in the Yangshan Special Comprehensive Bonded Zone, the empty container transportation center for Northeast Asia is key to the port's capability to allocate resources across the world, according to Gu Jinshan, chairman of Shanghai International Port Group, the sole operator of the public terminals at the Shanghai port.
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"The new center will help us to apply digitalized and intelligent management to promote communications between ports and shipping enterprises, so as to provide empty container services for shipping operators as well as customers in Northeast Asia, along the Yangtze River Delta region, and areas along the Yangtze River," said Gu.
SIPG is confident that by enhancing service while lowering logistics costs, it can develop the center into a benchmark at the Yangshan Special Comprehensive Bonded Zone, Gu said.
While striving to prevent and contain COVID-19, the Shanghai port saw container throughput grow from January to August, which allowed the core functions of the Shanghai international shipping center to operate normally and contributed to the stability of global supply chains.
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Jointly developed by SIPG and the shipping lines of Maersk, CMA CGM, MSC and Evergreen, the center's construction began in August 2021 to solve seasonal container shortages caused by imbalances in trade.
A view of Shanghai's Yangshan Port in East China, Jan 1, 2022. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
After more than a year of construction and preparations, the center is now ready to serve its customers. Taking up an area of 450,000 square meters, the center boasts about 12,000 TEUs container slots, and is capable of handling 3 million TEUs per year.
The launch of the center also means more empty containers will be allocated to the Yangtze River Delta region, the areas along the Yangtze River, and surrounding coastal ports via water routes, highways and railways, according to SIPG.
The Shanghai port's position as a hub of both domestic and international supply chains will thus get uplifted as well.
"As the world's largest container port, the Shanghai port is speeding up the construction of a global shipping network together with ports around the Yangtze River Delta region. And the center will further raise the resource allocation efficiency of the Shanghai port, and contribute to the Shanghai port's global competitiveness and international influence," said Zhao Yihuai, deputy director of Lin-gang Special Area Administration.
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The Shanghai port saw the number of its imported empty containers grow 8.7 percent year-on-year during the January-August period. Thanks to SIPG's efforts in promoting the flow back of empty containers, local and surrounding ports' container demand is well met.
In the city's plans for building itself into an international shipping hub, the Shanghai port is foreseen handling more than 47 million TEUs of containers annually by 2025, along with all the major port services in the place.
The empty container transportation center for Northeast Asia will consolidate the Shanghai port's status as the top global container port with more diversified shipping services.
The Shanghai port has been rated the world's largest container port for 12 consecutive years, and its container throughput volume exceeded 47 million TEUs in 2021.