BUSAN, South Korea — A lot of people living here or passing through, might not know that Busan is home to one of the world’s leading ports. Last year it ranked as the fifth busiest container port and 3rd busiest transshipment port in the world, handling over 14 million container spaces. It was only topped by the four ports all located in China.
Along with the mass amounts of cargo coming in and going out, Busan has seen growth from ocean tourism in the region and become an up-and-coming North East Asian cruise ship destination.
The ‘Busan Port Festival’, taking place from May 27th to 29th, will celebrate the achievements of this globally recognized coastal town, provide an array of activities and entertainment for visitors, and also aims to educate the citizens of this coastal city about the prominence and historical significance of Busan Port.
In a bid to propel itself further into the forefront of the global shipping industry, the Port of Busan is currently in the midst of a huge and logistical, commercial and structural shift. Driven by a desire to ‘give Busan Port back to the citizens of Busan’ is the ongoing construction of Busan New Port; a 30-berth high-tech and environmentally-friendly port costing in excess of $7 billion US dollars and situated approximately 25km away from the existing old harbor. Begun in 2002 with an expected construction period of 15 years, the aim of Busan New Port is to both clear the downtown area of Busan of shipment traffic by moving over 70% of its container traffic to the New Port, and to attract new shipping carriers by offering something that Busan had never been able to offer before – space for labor that goes beyond the simple handling of cargo. Busan New Port includes a huge 6.7 million m2 solar powered three-complex distripark designed solely to accommodate logistical activities such as packaging and assembly.
As part of Busan’s ‘Free Trade Zone’, Busan New Port is able to offer both potential and existing tenants an array of tax incentives, low lease contracts and competitive tenancy rates. The ‘Busan-Jinhae Free Economic Zone’ was established in 2003, and covers an area of 104.8? divided into five proposed areas – one of them being Busan New Port. Its aim is to cultivate economic growth by attracting foreign investment and providing a prime environment for international business.
The construction of the New Port, however, is not the only project in the Busan Port Authority’s current works; the creation of Busan New Port is leaving the existing Port of Busan free for its own massive modern renovation. The old industrial waterfront of Busan, in Jungang-dong, is currently undergoing a complete make-over, as contractors work to construct the foundations of a brand-new environmentally friendly 7.8 billion US dollar coastal metropolis.
The old port will be turned into a massive area for recreation and commerce
The redevelopment of Busan North Port began in December 2008 and is expected to have been fully completed by the end of 2020. The huge commercial and industrial waterfront plaza is to be split into six ‘zones’ – the Port Terminal Zone, the Complex Port Zone, the Commerce and Business Zone, the Maritime Culture Zone, the IT, Image, Exhibition Zone and the Multiplex Urban Zone – each with its own function and theme, and each occupying a variety of industrial and commercial businesses, housing, hospitals, schools, restaurants, hotels, shopping malls, museums, landmarks, and other tourist and leisure attractions. Busan North Port is to also capitalize on the recent surge in the East Asian boat cruise market by including a huge new coastal and international passenger terminal in its design. This international cruise terminal – scheduled for completion in 2014- will provide efficient tourist access to other areas of interest in the country by connecting directly to Busan train station and the high-speed KTX ‘bullet train’ to the capital, Seoul.
The South Korean government is funding 550 million US dollars toward the creation of the project’s basic infrastructure – roads, waterways, tunnels and the proposed waterfront parks – which is to be subsequently sold to private commercial and industrial investors. What results will be a massive twenty first century waterfront complex, the creation of over one hundred thousand jobs, and the promotion of Busan as not only home to one of the world’s most successful container terminals, but also as a major global maritime tourist destination.
By 2020, then, the developments of Busan New Port and North Port will have potentially changed the face of Busan. This traditional coastal harbor will have been transformed into both a major maritime tourist attraction and a prospective global transshipment hub. The Busan Port Festival, from May 27th – 29th, will allow visitors to explore the various facilities, roles and developments of Busan Port. Scheduled events include boat tours, marine sports, art workshops and exhibitions and outdoor concerts.
For more information please visit the festival website or call the Busan Port Authority marketing team (English service) on 051-999-3159.