Already the world`s largest dock for iron ore, Qingdao Port has ambitious plans to become the shipping hub of northeast Asia as it transforms itself into a hi-tech, third-generation facility.
Throughput at Qingdao Port in the first quarter of this year was more than 75 million tons, a 15 percent increase compared with the same period last year. It can now handle 36,000 tons per hour.
"The port is now growing at its fastest rate ever, with annual throughput expected to surpass 300 million tons and more than 10 million standard containers," said Chang Dechuan, chairman and president of Qingdao Port (Group) Co Ltd.
The China-built Cosco Oceania, the first 10,000-container ship to call at Qingdao Port. China has become the third country able to build container ships of that size, following South Korea and Denmark. Qing Gang
The port`s throughput was 265 million tons and 9.46 million twenty-foot container units (TEUs) in 2007, doubling and tripling 2002.
Its trade relations with 450 ports in more than 150 countries and regions enables the port to handle 300,000 tons of iron ore yearly. It is also Asia`s largest dock for crude oil and China`s third largest for containers.
Eighty-five percent of its volume in 2007 came through handling coal, crude oil, iron ore, containers and grain. The port`s accumulated throughput included 180 million tons of crude oil and 192 million tons of iron ore in the past years.
According to the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) for Qingdao port, it will further develop at Jiaozhou Bay, Qianwan Port, Aoshan Bay and Dongjiakou. It is striving to become a global state-of-the-art port by 2010, when throughput is projected to hit 320 million tons, including 12 million TEUs of cargo.
Handling capacity for crude oil is expected to rise to 55 million tons by 2010, making it one of the world`s largest terminals for crude oil, as well as liquid chemicals.
Its projected iron ore throughout of 68 million tons by 2010 will maintain its top global ranking. Plans also call for the port to accelerate construction of coal transshipment facilities to reach a capacity of 26 million tons.
The development plans call for the port to become one of the most modern in the world, using high technology, information technology and comprehensive logistics services.
An investment of 1.4 billion yuan funded construction of five quays in 2007, increasing annual capacity by 19.9 million tons.
Annual import-export cargo from provinces along the Yellow River basin is increasing 20 percent in Shandong ports, over 70 percent of which goes through Qingdao, according to the statistics from Qingdao Customs.
Twenty of the world`s top shipping companies have regular lines serving Qingdao. More than 100 well-known domestic companies, including China Petrochemical Corp and Jigang Group Co Ltd, have established closer cooperation with the port, while seven of the top-500 global companies have established operations there.
In 2003, a $887 million joint venture called Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal Co Ltd was formed between the port and three partners - the world`s biggest and second-largest shipping companies Maersk Group and P&O Nedlloyd Ltd, and China`s largest shipping company China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co (COSCO).
Rapid expansion of the port has driven the development of other entities, including customs, quarantine inspection and logistics. There are now 1,800 logistics companies in Qingdao, among which more than 1,000, including COSCO, China Shipping Group and Itochu Corp, are in its development zone.
Formal ground breaking for the fourth phase of the Qianwan container terminal was held on September 8, 2007. The 2,640-m quay is designed for eight berths and scheduled for completion by 2010, when it will have an annual throughput capacity of 210 million tons and 10.6 million TEUs.