On September 3, the second season of CCTV-9's "Amazing Engineering: China Ports" was broadcast. Yantian Port, as a trusted partner for mega container vessels, was the first to be featured in the first episode.
According to the relevant norms in the 1990s, the service life of a terminal is basically 30 years. But Yantian Port, since its establishment as a joint venture between Shenzhen and Hong Kong in 1993, has announced to the world that
"this terminal will not be overhauled for 50 years".
The engineers of Yantian Port wanted to create a new construction standard and set a new benchmark for ports in China and the world.
Challenge 1: Corrosivity of seawater
Seawater was the first challenge faced by engineers who claim "no overhaul for 50 years". The inescapable corrosive nature of seawater made it the infrastructure's most formidable adversary.
The foundation steel piles, with a wall thickness of 18 millimeters, would not be able to withstand the loads of the terminal for many years. After rejecting a number of corrosion-prevention schemes, engineers came up with a simple, practical method that had never be tried: to fill the steel piles with corrosion-preventing, high-performance reinforced concrete.
Even if the steel pipe piles are all corroded, the reinforced concrete piles will continue to carry the loads of the superstructure, keeping the terminal running steadily and standing the tests of both seawater and time.
Challenge 2: Impact of 10,000-ton vessels
In addition to seawater, engineers faced an even greater challenge: could reinforced concrete withstand the impact of a 10,000-ton vessel?
Under normal operation, a 200,000-ton vessel needs to be controlled at a berthing speed of 8 centimeters per second, at which time the impact force on the terminal is already equivalent to that of 20 cars crashing into the wall at 60 kilometers per hour at the same time. If the vessel's speed is out of control and hits the terminal, the impact force will increase exponentially, resulting in irresistible destruction and damage to the traditional terminal structure.
Engineers used the distribution of piles in Yantian Port as the key to resisting the impact force, turning the impossible into the possible. They calculated the rock face where the piles were to be driven, and accurately analysed and calculated the different depths of penetration and spacing of each pile to ensure that the force of each pile could satisfy the requirements under extreme conditions, enabling Yantian Port to withstand an impact force twice as fast as the normal berthing speed.
01 A preferred port of call for mega-vessels winning national awards
Since its inception, Yantian Port has always maintained a high standard of construction and operational efficiency and has been widely recognised by the industry and society. Its Phase II, Phase III, and Expansion projects and the West Port have won a total of six national engineering awards. These include:
3 Luban Prizes, 1 Tien-Yow Jeme Prize, and 2 National Quality Engineering Awards
This year, YANTIAN has welcomed maiden calls of 20 of the world's largest container vessels, each with a tonnage of over 200,000 tons, ranking first in South China, which has greatly boosted the international trade in the region. In the Phase I, Phase II, Phase III, and Expansion projects, we have 52-metre quay cranes, which are the highest ones in South China. It only takes 2 seconds for these gigantic machines to operate a container, keeping setting new world records. According to the data released by the Container Branch of China Ports and Harbours Association, YANTIAN's annual throughput has been in the first place among terminals in mainland China for 20 consecutive years.
02 An automation pioneer and green port practitioner
YANTIAN has always been committed to utilising technological innovation to enhance productivity since the opening of the port, and has pioneered a number of intelligent systems in its daily operations. As early as 2019, we applied a series of intelligent loading and unloading equipment such as remote-control and automated quay cranes and RTGCs, which not only significantly promoted the efficiency of port operations, but also enhanced operational safety and improved the working environment for employees.
We have also been practicing the green concept and launched three major initiatives: the development of shore-to-ship power system, the conversion of diesel-driven RTGCs to electric ones, and the deployment of LNG-powered tractors. YANTIAN is one of the first ports to use the shore power system in China, and our system covers the most berths and has the largest power supply capacity, leading the world in terms of carbon emission reduction and energy conservation.
03 A promising, smart, and green port
The East Port project under construction also adheres to YANTIAN's high-level tradition in port construction and is taking a new step forward in the smart and green development. The automated terminals of the East Port, which is under construction, uses new energy sources with photovoltaics installed on top of sheds of gatehouses and maintenance workshops. It also adopts a sponge city design, which not only prevents flooding but also collects rainwater and reuses it. In terms of the terminal design, the maximum wind speed of the quay cranes to withstand is 70.7m/s (over level-17 wind), even in view of the high tide brought by super typhoon, heavy wind and strong waves, the terminal will be free of seawater backflow. The design of the East Port also highlights intelligence to build a smart and future-oriented port.
Engineers of YANTIAN have created a miracle, raising the standards of port construction even higher. As the preferred port of call for mega-vessels and the international shipping hub in the Greater Bay Area, YANTIAN has outstanding natural advantages. It has a unique 18-metre-deep and 475-metre-wide natural navigation channel in the Greater Bay Area that can allow 7/24 passage of 200,000-ton vessels in both directions with "zero time difference" and "zero tidal range", securing the stability of the industry chain and supply chain in the Greater Bay Area.
YANTIAN, as a preferred port of call for mega-vessels in the world, is expediting its efforts to establish a world-class shipping hub, making its due contribution to the quality development of China's international trade.