South Korea opened a new cargo port in the southern city of Busan on Jan. 19, stepping up a regional race to become the leading shipping hub in Asia. Busan is the world's fifth-largest container port with 21 berths. The $9.2 billion project named Busan New Port, stretches from Busan, to its neighboring port of Jinhae on the southern coast. It has three container berths initially, growing to 30 berths capable of handling eight million TEUs (Twenty-Feet Equivalent Units) a year by 2011.
The new port will compete with Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen, the top four container ports in the world. Shanghai, China's commercial hub, last month opened the first phase of a new port with five berths on Yangshan Island some 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the current facilities.
Last year, Singapore handled 23.2 million TEUs to be the world's biggest cargo port followed by Hong Kong with 22.4 million TEUs, Shanghai with 18.1 million TEUs, Shenzen with 16.2 million TEUs and Busan with 11.8 million TEUs, according to data at South Korea's Busan Port Authorities.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006