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Xiamen follows Yangshan in feeder double-berthing

China's Xiamen port has begun double-berthing feeder ships to speed up the movement of containers along inland waterways in Fujian province.

Double-berthing involves parking one feeder vessel outside another feeder ship that is already berthed, and having the gantry cranes load containers on both ships concurrently.

Early this week, the exercise saw the 210 TEU Haibangda 318 parked next to the 215 TEU Haibangda 328, which was docked along berth No. 12 at Xiamen Haitian Container Terminal. A gantry crane then offloaded containers from Hai Bang Da 318, right across the adjacent ship. Both ships are owned by Shenzhen Haibangda Shipping, a local feeder operator.

Port officials said that double-berthing will boost Xiamen’s status as a shipping centre in southeastern China.

For Xiamen Port, which is becoming increasingly busy, double-berthing improves the utilisation of a single berth and terminal equipment, while shortening the time needed for ships to berth.

Containers are quickly loaded and unloaded from one ship to another, reducing the secondary loading and unloading operations, boosting operational efficiency."

Port officials added that this will facilitate the fast turnover of goods in the hinterland and have a positive effect on the development of hinterland enterprises.

Shippers told Container News that double-berthing is possible because Xiamen has long berths.

This is an emulation of Shanghai's Yangshan Deepwater Port, which implemented double-berthing on all its terminals last week.

Double-berthing is not common in ports elsewhere due to wharf length limits.

Yangshan tested double-berthing in September 2019, as port officials felt there was a need to speed up the handling of containers from so many feeder vessels. Many of the feeder ships collecting goods from Shanghai do so at Yangshan and around 90% of the ships calling at Yangshan come from the Yangtze River Delta.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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