It is hard to think of a better location for a major container port than Busan. Sited at the southern tip of the Korean peninsula, the port sits in the Pacific Ocean midway between China and Japan – on both the main north-south and east-west trade routes. As a result, the port has enjoyed spectacular growth to become the largest transhipment hub port in Northeast Asia. 2014 figures show that over 18.6 million TEU went through the port in the year, representing a 5.6% increase on the previous year.
Like all hub ports, Busan Port Authority (BPA) is coming to terms with accommodating ever larger mega-ships, and the port already has an impressive track record. Maersk’s first Triple E, and later the MV Maersk McKinney Møller and the 19,224 TEU MSC Oscar, chose Busan as their maiden port call.
To prepare, BPA developed a port entry simulator to identify and mitigate any safety or navigational issues relating to these large vessels. This facility allows entry under a variety of conditions to be simulated and analysed before permission was given for these ships to make their first port call.
To make way for the much anticipated 22,000 TEU ships, dredging at Busan to a confirmed depth of 17 metres is underway and this task will be complete by 2016. To further secure the safe navigation of these large ships as they enter and leave the port, the central government is likely to take the decision to remove “To Island”; a small uninhabited outcrop situated at the entrance to the port…
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