Multi-Functional Port Opens in Pohang
By Do Je-hae
A new multi-functional port with comprehensive logistic services officially opened Friday in Yeongil Bay, Pohang, an industrial city on the east coast with a heavy emphasis on steel.
It is the first such facility in North Gyeongsang Province and ninth overall in the country.
"The Yeongil Bay Harbor will play a key role in transforming Pohang and North Gyeongsang Province into a high-tech industrial center," Pohang Mayor Park Seung-ho said.
"The harbor will facilitate trade with Russia, China and Japan," the mayor added.
The city held an opening ceremony with 3,000 guests, including President Lee Myung-bak.
The launch of the harbor is expected to expedite Pohang's transformation from a steelmaker to a major international trade center, officials said.
It is expected that the new port will take up most of the container traffic from Daegu, North Gyeongsang Province, which accounts for 15 percent of the total nationwide.
Compared with Busan Harbor, Yeongil Bay Harbor is a shorter distance from Daegu and Gumi. Officials are hoping for synergy to take place with Busan.
Home to the world's No. 4 steel maker POSCO, Pohang has been concerned about finding new growth engines.
Located on the southeast coast of the Korean Peninsula, Pohang has been a trademark for the steel maker since the establishment of POSCO in 1968.
With the emergence of cheap Chinese steel products, however, Pohang has been seeking ways to shed its steel-oriented industrial structure and increase its competitiveness in other areas.
The idea for the Yeongil Bay Harbor was conceived in 1992 with such concerns in mind, officials said. It has taken more than 15 years to complete construction.
Cargo traffic was first launched in August.