SINGAPORE : Shanghai is set to overtake Singapore as the world's busiest port in 2008 as the Chinese economy continues with its stellar growth, an executive of the city-state's port operator said in remarks published Monday.
Flourishing global trade has enabled Singapore terminals to handle a record number of shipping containers in May, but volumes in Shanghai are growing faster, Kuah Boon Wee, chief executive of PSA for Southeast Asia and Singapore, told the Straits Times.
"It's a function of their growth and China's exports are surging," Kuah said. "But even if we're not number one, we will still be a significant player in world trade."
Chinese state media said last month that Shanghai has overtaken Hong Kong to become the world's second largest container port in the first quarter as containers handled rose 28.1 percent from a year ago.
In the first three months of the year, Shanghai Port processed 5.9 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) while Hong Kong handled about 5.5 million TEUs during the same period, up 2.3 percent from a year earlier.
Shanghai Port had been the third biggest container port worldwide after Singapore and Hong Kong since the end of 2003. Its container throughput capacity has kept a growth rate of over 20 percent in the past three years.
Kuah said PSA Singapore Terminals moved a record 2.28 million containers in May on the back of robust global trade.
In the first five months of the year, PSA handled 10.79 million containers in Singapore, up 14.42 percent over last year, he said.
"Areas such as Eastern Europe, the Baltic area, the Middle East and of course China, all showed strong growth in trade this year," he said.
"We have been working very hard to find ways to help customers make incremental growth in their business so that they will continue to increase their volumes here."
PSA Singapore Terminals is the flagship terminal of PSA International which is owned by Singapore investment firm Temasek Holdings.
PSA International handled record container volumes of 51.29 million TEUs last year, 18.6 percent more than in 2005. Its Singapore terminals handled 23.98 million TEUs last year.
The port operator earned net profit of 1.21 billion Singapore dollars (786 million US) on revenue of 3.74 billion dollars.
PSA is one of the world's top port operators with facilities in 15 countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
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