A ship carrying 5,668 containers started its voyage from Yantai toward the Middle East on Monday, marking the inauguration of a new line jointly operated by Yantai Port Group and China Shipping Container Lines Co Ltd (CSCL).
Eight ships of the same capacity will run on the line, taking 12 days to reach Malaysia, 19 days to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and 23 days to India.
Zhou Bo, president of Yantai Port Group, said the line will not only boost the port’s shipping business but also foreign trade for the entire Shandong peninsula.
Yantai Port also serves international shipping to the west coast of the United States through a line begun in November 2006 by China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co (COSCO).
"With the two main lines, Yantai Port’s container business will be booming," said Zhou.
"The soaring economy of the Shandong peninsula brings new opportunities for ocean shipping of containers. We are confident our line will contribute significantly," said Huang Xiaowen, managing director of CSCL.
Trade is robust between Shandong province and Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe, guaranteeing cargo for the new line.
Statistics from Yantai Customs show the import-export volume of the city in 2007 increased by 58.8 percent to US$23.94 billion, accounting for 19.5 percent of Shandong’s total volume.
The port has benefited since 2005 from the development of the Shandong peninsula’s manufacturing base and coastal industrial belt.
In 2006, DP World Yantai Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Yantai Port Group, began cooperation with China Shipping Terminal Development Co Ltd, a subsidiary of China Shipping (Group) Co. A line was soon opened between Yantai and the coastal areas of South China.
In 2007, Yantai Port formed a joint venture with International Container Terminal Services Inc, a Manila-based port operator. The establishment of Yantai Rising Dragon International Container Terminals Ltd expanded the market in Southeast Asia.
The designed annual throughput of Yantai Port is 1.51 million twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs), enabled by a 2,139-m terminal shoreline and 650,000-sq m container yard.
A new container terminal under construction will stretch across 1 million sq m and have four berths with a shoreline of 1,200 m that will add another 1.2 million TEUs in capacity. It will be able to berth ships with a capacity of 10,000 TEUs
An information exchange center will also be built to facilitate the transport of containers. Total investment in port projects under construction will be 10.8 billion yuan (US$1.52 billion).
Yantai has expanded its coastal industrial base in recent years to produce cars, ships, petrochemicals and marine engineering machinery. More companies have since arrived, including 12 foreign-invested firms that specialize in terminal operations, food processing, storage and logistics.
There are currently more than 30 container lines connecting Yantai Port with Japan, South Korea, the Middle East, the US and other domestic ports. Now one of the major ports in north China, Yantai serves about 10 container ships on average each day.
In 2007, the throughput of Yantai Port surpassed 100 million tons, making it China’s 11th port able to handle over 100 million tons of freight a year. The throughput of containers rose by 75 percent year-on-year to 1 million TEUs, among the top 10 in domestic ports.
"This year, Yantai Port’s throughput of containers is expected to reach 1.7 million TEUs with a year-on-year increase of 36 percent. By 2010, the figure will be 3 million," said Zhou Bo.