As 2011 gets into full swing, so continues the multitude of growth projects and developments taking place at the Port of Busan. Last year was another achievement for the port of this coastal city as total handled cargo for 2010 jumped year-on-year by a considerable 18.4 percent. Handled cargo totaled over 14 million TEU as the year came to a close and secured once again Busan Port's spot as the world's third busiest transshipment hub and fifth busiest container port. The port saw a further increase of 16.2 percent in January of 2011 compared to the same month of 2010, with handled cargo for the first month at a record-breaking 1.23 million TEU. If this trend continues, Busan Port is potentially looking at handling over 15 million TEU in 2011; a first in its BLAH year history.
Allowing for this continual and considerable increase in handled cargo is the ongoing construction and expansion of Busan New Port - a 30-berth high-tech and environmentally-friendly port dedicated solely to container shipment and situated approximately 25km away from the existing harbor. The proposal to create a new port was originally formulated by Korea's central government back in 1994, ten years before the foundation of the Busan Port Authority, when Busan North Port's actual handlings were exceeding its apparent 6.9 million TEU capacity annually by as much as 4 million TEU. Located in an urbanized area of Busan, Busan North Port's potential for growth as a global transshipment hub was also hindered in that there was little possibility for expansion or the introduction of additional assembly, packaging, storage and manufacturing space.
This logistical space at Busan New Port comes in the form of a 6.7 million m² three-complex distripark. The distripark is completely solar powered, and is one example of a wide range of eco-friendly technology that has been implemented at the new site. These technologies include the use of solely electricity operated Rail Mounted Gantry Cranes, provision of Alternative Maritime Power (AMP), prevalent use of geothermal energy, gate automation, Twin C/C, Tandem-40' C/C, and automated mooring systems. The BPA estimates that the eventual 267 units of RMGC alone will reduce CO2 emissions by a comparative 80,000 tonnes and save US$ 80 million per year. In order to reduce the air pollution and noise caused by ongoing heavy congestion at Busan North Port, the 'Port Hinterland Road' is under construction. Upon completion this year, this Port Hinterland Road will allow the transportation of cargo between the two ports far away from populated and industrial areas via huge suspension bridges over the sea. The 'Hinterland Railway' network, consisting of both a completed one-rail and under-construction two-rail track, is to also connect Busan New Port with South Korea's central railway network, allowing for an increase in the swift, simple and inexpensive transportation of cargo by land.
In terms of technological advancements, and as part of Busan's bid to enhance its global competitiveness and optimize the efficiency of this New Port, the Busan Port Authority has embarked on the introduction and implementation of the 'BP-Net'. The BP-Net is designed to implement an Internet-based customer tailored 'one stop service' for all liners and operators of the Busan Port by completely integrating all port-related cargo and logistics related information using Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). The BP-Net will provide G2G, G2B and B2B services for all users and related government and port authority offices, speeding up the logistics flow at the Busan Port and providing an all-round more efficient and convenient service.
This electronic overhaul of the port's current operating systems will conform to the official standards of the Korean Government's highly successful e-Government framework. South Korea was ranked first globally in terms of e-Government Development and e-Government Participation by a UN Global e-Government Survey in 2010. E-Government related sub-projects also taking place at Busan Port include the Uni Port Service, an Ultra Logistics Service, Utmost Value Service, Ubi Infra Service and Port-MIS. The BPA is to select a private IT company to work with for the creation of these services by the end of May. Phase one of the overall project, which will include the establishment of the BP-Net integrated system and will cost approximately KRW 3.3 billion, will begin in June and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Phases two and three of the massive high-tech renovation will begin from 2012. A feasibility study took place two years prior to the beginning of the project and a detailed implementation project was completed last year. The ongoing realization of Busan as a Ubiquitous Port is being led by Korea's central government and includes the tagging of all terminal operator gates and trucks with Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID).
The creation of a ubiquitous and networked New Port is not the only project in the Busan Port Authority's current pipeline. Not only will Busan New Port divert shipment traffic away from the heavily populated center of Busan, it will also leave the existing Port of Busan free for its own massive renovation. The old industrial waterfront of Busan is currently undergoing a complete make-over, as contractors work to construct the foundations of a brand-new environmentally friendly US$ 7.8 billion coastal metropolis.
The redevelopment of Busan North Port, partially funded by central government, began in December 2008 and is expected to have been fully completed by the end of 2020. The huge commercial and industrial waterfront plaza is to be split into six 'zones' - the Port Terminal Zone, the Complex Port Zone, the Commerce and Business Zone, the Maritime Culture Zone, the IT, Image, Exhibition Zone and the Multiplex Urban Zone - each with its own function and theme, and each occupying a variety of industrial and commercial businesses, housing, hospitals, schools, restaurants, hotels, shopping malls, landmarks, and other tourist and leisure attractions.
Busan North Port is to also capitalize on the recent surge in the Asian boat cruise market by including a huge new coastal and international passenger terminal in its design. This international cruise terminal - scheduled for completion in 2014- will provide efficient tourist access to other areas of interest in the country by connecting directly to Busan train station and the high-speed KTX 'bullet train' to the capital, Seoul.
Once finished, it will be a massive twenty first century waterfront complex that will create over one hundred thousand jobs, and promote Busan as one of the world's most successful container terminals. Moreover, it will be at the forefront as a major global maritime tourist and cruise ship destination.
In May of 2011 Busan is to host the International Association of Ports and Harbors conference, a major bi-yearly world-wide maritime event attracting large numbers of delegates and officials from shipping companies across the globe. This year's IAPH is a superb opportunity for the Busan Port Authority to showcase its noteworthy developments and progressions, and the hosting of such an internationally renowned maritime event in the city further marks this year as a potentially momentous one in the global history of Busan Port. The theme of this years' conference, 'Embracing our Future - Expanding our Scope', is symbolic perhaps of the vast current advancements taking place.
Also happening in May is Busan Port Festival, which is this year based around the historical significance of the port's traditional lighthouse. The goals of this annual festival are to create a major educational experience in Busan, introduce the history, symbolism and contemporary importance of the Busan Port, develop an educational tourism package using port-related industries, emphasize an entertaining experience program highlighting the prominence and dynamism of Busan Port and provide networking opportunities for institutes, businesses and universities. The Busan Port Festival is also a way for English-speaking citizens of Busan to discover more about the port.
These many and varied happenings, then, serve to highlight the zealous and continuous efforts by the Busan Port Authority to propel Busan Port to the forefront of global shipping. The creation of Busan New Port, the redevelopment of Busan North Port, and the varied events and marketing promotions taking place are to aid in advancing the port's status as an international transshipment hub and increase its worldwide competitiveness.