South Korea’s Busan Port Launches First Automated Container Terminal

South Korea’s Busan Port Launches First Automated Container Terminal - Merchant Navy Info - News

South Korea’s Busan New Port has extended its capacity by launching a seventh container terminal. The terminal’s opening ceremony on Friday was attended by President Yoon Suk Yeol. They lauded the facility as a milestone in turning Busan Port into a world-class smart port and hub for global logistics.

The new facility is the first fully automated terminal in the country featuring remotely controlled ship-to-shore cranes built in Korea. Automated cargo transfer from ships is expected to raise the port’s productivity by up to 20 percent. Compared with other terminals, this significantly lowers the risk of safety-related incidents.

The Busan New Port opened in 2006 as older terminals at the Busan Harbor needed help to handle the exponential growth in trade at the key transshipment port. The development was carried out in phases, and the new port expansion is scheduled to last up to around 2040-2050. Busan Port Authority states the overall expansion project will cost $32 billion when completed.

Last year, container traffic at the Port of Busan hit a record 22.75 million TEU, representing a 3.1% increase compared to the previous year.
Meanwhile, President Yoon pledged to extend the tonnage taxation system before its expiration at the end of the year. The tonnage tax is applied to shipping companies instead of ordinary corporate taxation. It means companies pay taxes based on their fleet’s net tonnage instead of their profits. (Critics of the tonnage tax system argue that it is discriminatory as it does not uphold tax equity.)

South Korea reviews the tonnage tax system after five years. The president’s guarantee to maintain it signals the government’s commitment to revitalize the domestic shipping industry. In this regard, Yoon also pledged $4 billion in government funding for national shipping companies to expand their fleet. Also, aid in their green transition.

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