The Port of Shanghai: The World's Largest Port

Posted by Chris Leslie

The Port of Shanghai dates back to the 6th century AD and has been a significant seaport due to its location for hundreds of years. Officially opened in 1842 for international trade, the Port of Shanghai, a complex of two ports, is known as the largest port in the world. It includes both a river and a deep-sea port; the sea port sends and receives traffic from the East China Sea and Hangzhou Bay, while its river port is located on the confluence of the Yangtze, Huangpu, and Qiantang Rivers.


By Alex Needham at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

For centuries this area of China was a center of trade. Its important location at the junction of several rivers and the sea made it ideal for handling global ship traffic. In 1842, the city became a treaty port (the Treaty of Nanjing), making it a hub for international shipping. Over time, this designation also allowed the city of Shanghai to grow into one of the largest cities in the world. During the Communist Revolution the port’s trade was dramatically reduced but economic reforms in 1991 allowed it to grow in size again. Today, the port receives ships from all over the world and processes record amounts of cargo shipments.

The Port of Shanghai is the world’s busiest shipping container port, receiving that designation after surpassing the Port of Singapore in 2010 by half a million TEUs. In 2014, the port set a world record by processing over 35 million TEUs of cargo. Overall, the Port of Shanghai has a total of 125 berths. Of these, 82 can accommodate 10,000 DWT class or higher vessels. There are also public bulk terminals, breakbulk terminals, a specialized ro-ro terminal, and several passenger cruise ship terminals. In addition, the port is estimated to own at least 5,143 units of cargo handling equipment.


The port is managed by the Shanghai International Port Group, a government controlled company that manages all public port terminal operations. The port consists of three major working areas, or harbor zones, covering 3,916.6 square kilometers: Yangshan Port, Huangpu River, and Yangtze River.

The largest, the Yangshan Deepwater Port Area, processes nearly all of the cargo coming in from ocean-going vessels. For the last 15 years, an expansion project has been underway for this important section of the port. The four-phase expansion plan began in 2000; phases I and II were completed in 2005 and 2006 and phase III in 2010. Due to shallow water in the mainland portion of the port, an additional port area in the Hangzhou Bay, south of Shanghai, was part of the plan. While this area is 30 km away from the mainland port, it is connected to the mainland via a 32.5 km six-lane bridge -- the Donghai Bridge is the world's longest sea bridge. Upon completion of all four phases, the Yangshan Port will have 30 berths and be capable of processing 15 million TEU each year. Phase 4, now underway and scheduled to open this year, will include a fully automated container terminal.

The deepwater area of the port complex has an operating depth of 16 meters and is able to handle the largest container ships. At the present time, this section of the port has a 3,000m-long deepwater quay length, 34 state-of-the-art container quay cranes, 120 RTGs and a variety of other handling and transportation facilities.

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Posted on Sep 30, 2015, 7:07:00 AM

Topics: Blog, ports, containers