Port profile: Taicang Terminals – Yangtze Gateway



Fred Castonguay, Managing Director, Taicang Terminals, China


Introduction to Taicang

Reconnecting 600 years of history from when Admiral Zheng He set sail from Taicang, the city has, in the 21st century, embarked on a landmark development to make it the central exit point for all the containerised cargoes of Jiangsu province. With identical navigational conditions to Waigaoqiao 40 km away, Taicang Terminals is at the Yangtze cargo crossroads. The terminal operator of Taicang Terminals is Modern

Terminals, controlled by Wharf Holdings and Hong Kong’s oldest terminal operator, famous for its efficiency and ability to meet any customer need. Cosco Pacific, meanwhile, is the port operating arm of China’s largest maritime firm, China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company. The Suzhou municipal government also has a stake in both phases.

We have moved quickly, ushering in liner calls to international destinations and getting our second phase, 70 per cent controlled by Modern Terminals, underway. By 2010 we anticipate we will be able to handle six million TEUs, having crossed the million TEU throughput mark in actual capacity as early as 2007.

In 2005, throughput grew 170 per cent to some 250,000 TEUs, making Taicang Terminals the fastest growing container port in China. In 2006, growth has accelerated quickly, climbing 139 per cent to around 600,000 TEUs as more and more people find out the unique advantages we have to offer. Just 73 km from Shanghai on the cargo doorstep of the world, Taicang Terminals brings shippers to the cargo source.

Taicang Terminals is the container artery for Suzhou, which in 2005 trumped Shanghai for foreign direct investment as global corporations saw the value of moving into Jiangsu province, which is rapidly becoming the export centre of central China. Our port enjoys the same 12.5-metre depth alongside as Waigaoqiao, while being nearer the cargo source.

By choosing Taicang Terminals, shippers can take advantage of lower port charges, one less link in the supply chain, and a plethora of economic incentives offered by both the municipal and provincial governments including:

• Lower tariffs

• Government subsidy to shipping lines

• Trucking savings

• Government support to truckers and shippers

There are numerous incentives for truckers and agents to bring cargoes to the port. Local government is looking to build the cargo base and waives highway toll fees, rewards agents for each container and provides bonuses for freight forwarders achieving higher volumes. Shipping lines can receive refunds of pilotage and river maintenance fees. Main line services can expect subsidies in the range of millions of renminbi.

Phase I of development, on which construction began in 1997, currently comprises two container berths with depths alongside of 12 metres. This initial phase allows for a capacity of 550,000 TEUs with installation of four quay cranes and ten rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs).

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