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Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) and several mainline operators have launched a centre to co-ordinate the transport of empty containers from Shanghai port.
Yesterday’s opening of Shanghai Port North-east Asia Empty Container Dispatching Centre (a literal translation) is an effort to relieve the equipment crunch by expediting the turnover of empty containers in the world’s busiest container port.
The slow return of empty containers is one of the factors driving runaway freight rates.
The centre is in the comprehensive bonded zone of Yangshan Port’s Lingang New Area and liner majors Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM and Evergreen are involved. While part of Zhoushan in Zhejiang province, Yangshan was developed as a Shanghai sub-port to enable the latter to handle more cargo.
SIPG’s senior marketing manager, Chen Wei, said the container dispatching centre was part of a 450,000 sq metre empty container transfer yard.
He explained: “Freeing such a large physical space to store empty containers is conducive to overall planning and reducing logistics costs. The container dispatch centre is not only a concept of a yard, but also involves the development of many innovative businesses, including container matching, land-based and water transport.”
Yangshan is one of Shanghai’s most important sub-ports. In the first six months of this year, Yangshan processed 11.16m teu, nearly half Shanghai’s entire throughput, and many empty containers from transpacific and Asia-Europe services are also handled at Yangshan.
Mr Chen added: “The centre won’t only enable empty containers to be collected in Shanghai Port, but also provide supporting services, such as container repair, washing, and inspection. Shipping companies can be assured that empty containers will be given priority in Shanghai.”
Plans are in hand for a similar facility along the Yangtze river to cater for empty containers in the hinterland.
SIPG chairman Gu Jinshan said the company would work with mainline operators to improve port and shipping logistics to raise service standards and added: “We hope the dispatching centre will become a symbol of the Yangshan Special Comprehensive Bonded Zone, boosting development in Lingang New Area.”