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Posted on February 4th, 2014

Our Changing Landscape – Port of Shanghai

In this monthly feature, we span the globe to examine Our Changing Landscape with time series of medium resolution RapidEye satellite imagery. The RapidEye archive dates back to late 2008 and already contains more than 5 billion square kilometers of data. This month, we look at changes over a single year in and around the Port of Shanghai.

The RapidEye Constellation

RapidEye is a constellation of five 5-meter medium resolution satellites each offering five spectral bands of information. The RapidEye constellation offers a daily revisit time to every location on the planet with a huge footprint that is 77-km wide. The data is priced competitively with a base price of $1.28 per square kilometer for all five spectral bands – academics do receive discounts. RapidEye adds a fifth band, the red edge, to the ‘traditional’ multispectral set of blue, green, red and near-infrared (NIR). The additional spectral data available in the red edge band allows users to extract more useful land ‘information’ than can be from traditional 4-band imagery sources. When RapidEye imagery is ordered as a Level 3A Orthorectified product, images from multiple dates are extremely well registered, making it the ideal data source for Our Changing Landscape.

Port of Shanghai

The Port of Shanghai is located in the middle of China’s 18,000-kilometer long coastline at the mouth of the Yangtze River. It has a long history as a shipping hub for China that dates back to the 14th Century Ming Dynasty, and by the 18th Century Qing Dynasty, it was the largest port in the country. Since January 2003, the shipping hub has been managed by the Shanghai International Port Group. Located by some of China’s densest population centers, agricultural fields and industrial base, the Port of Shanghai over took the Port of Singapore in 2010 as the world’s busiest.

The Port of Shanghai is a conglomeration of multiple smaller ports each serving a specific set of shipping needs. The focus of this article is on the 4 major container terminals which handle the large, colorful metal vessels many of us have seen stacked in ports. Here are some specifics on the capacity of each of these ports to handle seaborne shipments:

Click on the image above to see an animation of 5-meter natural color imagery collected over the Port of Shanghai, China on April 3, October 13, October 28, October 29 and November 7, 2013. In this animated series of images, you can see changes in the location of boats, cranes and even the metal containers in the port. You can also see the impacts of atmospheric haze and pollution (which are common in Shanghai) on the sharpness of the data. (Images Courtesy: BlackBridge)
  • Shanghai Pudong International Container Terminals Limited
    • 900 meters of quay length
    • Covers 500,000 square meters (sq m)
    • 8,200 flat container slots to stack up to 30,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) at once
    • 147 pieces of machinery to move containers
  • SIPG Zhendong Container Terminal Branch
    • 1,556 m  of quay length
    • Covers 1,659,000 sq m
    • 5 large container berths
    • 13 quay cranes
  • Shanghai East Container Terminals Co., Ltd
    • 1,250 m of quay length
    • Covers 1,550,000 sq m
    • 13 quay cranes and 48 RTG cranes
  • Shanghai Mingdong Container Terminals Limited
    • 2,068 m of quay length
    • Covers 2,178,998 sq m
    • 22 quay cranes and 143 pieces of machinery in all

From 1993 to 2006, the Port of Shanghai averaged an astounding 27.5% growth rate in container throughput. Specifically, in 2001, the port handled 6.43 million TEUs, by 2006 it handled 21.71 million TEUs and then 32.5 million in 2012. Preliminary figures for 2013 show a significant slowing in the growth rate of container throughput with a final figure of 33.6 million TEUs. As of 2013, Forbes estimated that the Shanghai International Port Group had an annual revenue of $4.5 billion.

If you would like to find out more about using RapidEye for your academic studies, engineering projects or any landscape analysis, let us know at or (303) 993-3863.

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