The Ports and Harbors Division of the Ibaraki Prefectural Government is the port authority responsible for managing and overseeing the Port of Hitachinaka. The Port of Hitachinaka’s outer facilities include the East Breakwater of 4350 meters (with plans to extend to six thousand meters), the 500-meter North Breakwater, and the 300-meter Central Breakwater (with plans to extend to 350 meters).
The new state-of-the-art marine container terminal is making the Port of Hitachinaka an international hub port, linking the Ibaraki, Tochigi, and Gunma Prefectures by the Kita-Kanto Expressway system. The Port of Hitachinaka’s North Wharf Public Container Terminal has a 350-meter long quay with alongside depth of 15 meters that can accommodate vessels to 50 thousand DWT (the same as Tokyo Bay). It includes a fumigation warehouse and maintenance shops.
In 1998, the Port of Hitachinaka’s North Wharf cargo area was opened for operations, and the overseas cargo terminal opened in 2000. In 2001, work began on the Central Wharf domestic cargo area.
In 2001, the Port of Hitachinaka handled 994 thousand tons of cargo, an over-300% increase from 2000, with increases in both foreign and domestic trade. Foreign trade of 159 thousand tons included 113.8 thousand tons of imports and 45.2 thousand tons of exports. Domestic trade of over 835 thousand tons included 508 thousand tons of imports and 327 thousand tons of exports. The main cargoes were industrial construction machinery, automobiles for export, and non-ferrous metals and metal products. The Port of Hitachinaka also handled 53 thousand tons of containerized cargo in 2001, also a 300% increase.
Of the total 994.4 thousand tons of cargo handled by the Port of Hitachinaka in 2001, over half was metallic machine industrial goods (594.3 thousand tons) including finished cars (250.3 thousand tons) and metal products (192.2 thousand tons). Light manufacturing products of 105 thousand tons was the second largest cargo category including paper pulp (47.1 thousand tons), manufactured food (29.5 thousand tons), beverages (13 thousand tons), and sugar (12.2 thousand tons). Other major cargoes included non-ferrous metals (68.4 thousand tons), industrial machinery (51.5 thousand tons), fruits and vegetables (43.3 thousand tons), and wood products (31.7 thousand tons).
The area surrounding the Port of Hitachinaka was designed in 2000 to be a Foreign Access Zone (FAZ) and import promotion area. Operating in the North Wharf, the Port of Hitachinaka FAZ Distribution Site covers 7.4 thousand square meters of warehouse area. It supports freight disposal, storage, distribution, and processing for Mitsubishi Logistics Corporation, Toyo Wharf & Warehouse Company, Nippon Express Company Ltd, and Maruzen Showa Unyu Company Ltd. In 2002, 19 distribution companies operated in the areas behind the North Wharf, and new Port of Hitachinaka warehouses and distribution facilities are still being built.
The Port of Hitachinaka’s mooring facilities at the 28-hectare North Wharf Foreign Trade Terminal include three berths of total of 690 meters in length and alongside depths from 10 to 14 meters. The three berths can accommodate vessels to 50 thousand DWT at the 170-meter berth, 30 thousand DWT at the 290-meter berth, and 10 thousand DWT at the 230-meter berth. The 21-hectare North Wharf Domestic Trade Terminal contains eight berths with total length of 890 meters and alongside depths from 5.5 to 7.5 meters. The Port of Hitachinaka’s International Commercial Distribution Center in the Foreign Access Zone covers 12 thousand square meters, and 10 hectares are being developed for open freight yards.