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Home Port News HMM-BPTC consortium tipped to operate new Busan terminal

HMM-BPTC consortium tipped to operate new Busan terminal

Hyundai Merchant Marine’s (HMM) consortium with Busan Port Terminal Corporation (BPTC) has been named the preferred bidder to operate the West container terminal in Busan New Port.

Regulator, Busan Port Authority (BPA), said the consortium was the only bidder in two rounds of an open tender. HMM is South Korea's largest liner operator. BPTC, which already operates the Sinseondae and Gamman terminals in Busan, was formed in November 2016, from the merger of CJ Korea Express Busan Container Terminal Company and Busan International Terminal Company.

The West container terminal is being developed with Phase 2-5 offering three berths for 20,000TEU vessels, to be completed by 2021; two berths for Phase 2-6 are slated to be completed by 2025.

Busan is Northeast Asia's largest transhipment port and the South Korean authorities have been upgrading the port to realise its ambitions of becoming the world's second largest transhipment port, behind Singapore. The West container terminal could increase Busan's annual transhipment volumes, said to be over 10 million TEU, by 3.55 million TEU.

BPA said that over the next three months, its officials will discuss the next steps for the consortium to be appointed the operator of the West container terminal.

Located at the entrance to Busan New Port, the West container terminal has a water depth of 20m. By the time the berths in Phase 2-6 open, at least four 20,000TEU mega container ships can be docked simultaneously. Part of the loss-making HMM's strategy to restore profitability is to secure terminal assets to lower handling costs.

If the HMM-BPTC consortium secures the operating rights to the West terminal, HMM would be operating two terminals in Busan New Port. The company has a 50% stake in Hyundai Pusan Newport Terminal, with Singapore-based port operator PSA International holding the other 50%.

Martina Li,
Asian Correspondent

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