Moving mountains to create the ‘gateway hub for northeast Asia’



DP World, Dubai, United Arab Emirates


With Korea’s newest port, ‘moving mountains’ is not just a metaphor for extraordinary efforts, but is literally what it’s taking to create the state-of-the-art Pusan Newport Company (PNC) terminal. The first phase of the three phase development was officially opened by the President of the Republic of Korea, Mr Roh Moo-Hyun, in January.

The new terminal together with a vast logistics support area is being carved out of a small mountain on the west side of Busan City and the eastern tip of Kyongsangnam-do, requiring huge feats of engineering.


The PNC terminal will be the largest single terminal within Korea, with 3.2 kilometres of continuous quay wall and a conservative estimated handling capacity of more than 5.5 million TEU (Figure 1).

The first phase, which consists of three berths of 350 metres each, will be followed by a further three berths, due for completion by the end of 2006. The final three are due to be operational by 2009 (Figure 2).

In addition, a total of 4.08 million square metres of terminal and logistics support area has been developed and designated as a Free Trade Zone, which will encompass international facilities for integrated logistics and affiliated industries.

Commitment to quality

It is a massive undertaking and the scale of the endeavour reflects the commitment of the partners of the project and the South Korean government to establishing a thriving hub for the rapidly expanding volumes of cargo moving through the region. DP World, one of the leading global marine terminal operators, and Samsung Corporation are the joint-lead sponsors and investors and DP World has been contracted as the operations, maintenance, and management provider to PNC. Other players include the Hanjin group of companies and Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd. DP World was originally selected by the Korean government in 2003 as the port’s operations, maintenance, and management provider and then furthered its commitment to the project by acquiring equity in the facility. DP World CEO Mohammad Sharaf believes commitment is key to achieving increased levels of efficiency to meet the rapidly expanding needs of customers in today’s changing environment. He said, “We invest for the long term and we take our commitments very seriously – commitments to our people, our customers, quality and global growth. Embracing innovation and technology and establishing long-term strategic relationships with customers and business partners lead to reduced operational efficiencies, ultimately allowing us to offer quality services to our customers.

“Further, with the Free Trade Zone, we are able to offer integrated terminal and logistics services, enhancing the efficiency or our customers’ supply chains.” Mr Sharaf said PNC’s up to the minute engineering and technology, its investment in training and focus on efficiency, will be the model upon which DP World will base all its existing and future operations.

Terminal features

PNC is located in a non-congested area outside the centre of Busan. This dramatically increases its role as an indispensable first and last port call for vessels and an offloading and key transshipment point for container traffic within the region covered by (Figure 3) the Northeast Asia’s shipping channels. Advanced transportation infrastructure, including highways, railroads and local access are being developed by the government of South Korea to support the facility and improve connectivity and accessibility to major commercial, metropolitan, industrial areas as well as the hinterlands. All of this translates into additional time and cost savings for customers. DP World’s focus on customer needs and philosophy of investing ahead of demand means intelligent and innovative features are included in the new port.

Said Sharaf, “We invest in growth areas so that facilities and services are in place when our customers need them.” An example is the substantial investment made to accommodate the new generation of mega-ships. Channels have been deepened and widened and new berthing facilities with sufficient water depth (16 to 17 metres) and length have been constructed. The berth availability and reduced port stay for ship operators represent efficiencies relating to deployment, vessel string and design, and operating costs (Figure 4).

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