The Kitakyushu Seaport and Airport Bureau is the port authority for the Port of Kitakyushu. Located only 230 kilometers from Busan in Korea and major ports in China like Shanghai, Dalian, and Qingdao, the Port of Kitakyushu is an important gateway between Japan and East Asia. Domestically, the Port of Kitakyushu serves both the island of Kyushu and the southern area of the mainland island of Honshu. It occupies an enviable and strategic position in the movement of both foreign and domestic cargoes for the nation.
In 2008, the Port of Kitakyushu handled a total 109.4 million tons of cargo, including over 31 million tons of foreign and 78 million tons of domestic cargoes. Foreign cargoes included 24.6 million tons of imports and 6.6 million tons of exports. The Port of Kitakyushu handled domestic cargoes that included 39.5 million tons of imports and 38.7 million tons of exports. Containerized cargoes included 532 thousand TEUs of which 374 thousand were foreign cargoes and 78 thousand were domestic cargoes. In 2008, the Port of Kitakyushu's top five trading partners were China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand.
Including containerized goods, foreign trade cargoes of 31.2 million tons passed through the Port of Kitakyushu in 2008. Exports of 6.6 million tons included steel materials (30%), chemicals (11%), metal products (8%), chemical products (7%), industrial equipment (5%), auto parts (5%), and other cargoes (35%). Imports of 24.6 million tons were dominated by coal (33%) and iron ore (30%), while other imports included non-metallic minerals (2%), steel, chemicals (2%), and other cargoes (20%).
International container cargoes handled in the Port of Kitakyushu in 2008 included 3.6 million tons in 169.5 thousand TEUs of exports and 4.4 million tons in over 205 thousand TEUs of imports. Containerized exports leaving the Port of Kitakyushu included chemicals, auto parts, industrial equipment, chemical products, rubber products, and recyclable materials, among many others in smaller volumes. Major import cargo categories included auto parts, furniture and fixtures, industrial equipment, pottery, clothing and footwear, and metal products.
The Port of Kitakyushu's Tachinoura Container Terminal is the biggest container terminal in western Japan. It covers 29 hectares and contains two terminals. With floor area of 161.5 thousand square meters with capacity for 6346 TEUs, Container Terminal No. 1 has a 620 meter long quay with alongside depth of 12 meters. Container Terminal No. 2 contains 161.6 thousand square meters of floor space with capacity for 5900 TEUs, and its quay is 555 meters long with alongside depth of 10 meters. The terminals are both under public management. The Tachinoura Container Terminal in the Port of Kitakyushu handles more than 180 vessels each month.
Opened in 1997, the Port of Kitakyushu's Kokura container terminal covers 70 thousand square meters. Also under public management, it has 440 meters of quay and can handle 3366 TEUs of containerized cargo. The Port of Kitakyushu's Kokura International Distribution Center provides multi-storage, disposal, and distribution of goods.
Opening in 2005, the Port of Kitakyushu's Hibiki Container Terminal is the only terminal on the Japan Sea with a deep-water pier that can accommodate post-Panamax vessels. The terminal covers some 39 hectares, and it offers two piers, each with two berths. One pier is 700 meters long with alongside depth of 15 meters, and the other pier is 340 meters long with alongside depth of 10 meters. The Hibiki Container Terminal in the Port of Kitakyushu has capacity to store over 22.4 TEUs, and it offers 324 reefer points for refrigerated containers. Furthermore, the area along the Hibiki Container Terminal is being developed as an industrial park.
Port of Kitakyushu harbor facilities in the Mojiko area include Shinhama, which handles primarily feed materials for distribution to northern Khushu consumer areas. The Shinhama facilities include two berths with a total length of 539 meters and alongside depths of 9 and 11 meters. These Port of Kitakyushu facilities include 12 buildings covering 12.3 thousand square meters and a cargo-handling machine with lift capacity for 300 tons per hour. The Shinhama facilities include almost 6.4 thousand square meters of freight-handling yards, 8.8 thousand square meters of open storage yards, and more than a kilometer of port roads.
Also in the Port of Kitakyushu's Mojiko area are the facilities at Nisikaigan, which not only handles cargoes but provides space for public events and relaxation. Called the "Moji Port Retoro Project," this area has been added to improve the aesthetic appeal of the waterfront. Cargo-handling facilities at Nisikaigan include 10 berths with a total length of more than 1.8 thousand meters and alongside depths from 10 to 11 meters. The Nisikaigan facilities in the Port of Kitakyushu include 12 storage buildings with a total area of almost 29 thousand square meters. The Nisikaigan area contains almost 62.9 thousand square meters of freight-handling yards, over 7.2 thousand square meters of open storage yards, and almost 2.5 kilometers of port roads.
The Port of Kitakyushu's Shinmoji area is a hub for cargo distribution and is connected to land, sea, and air networks. Located only three kilometers from the Kyushu Motorway and five kilometers from the City Expressway, it is well-positioned as a distribution hub. It is also only 12 kilometers from the Port of Kitakyushu Tachinoura Container Terminal with five regular ferry routes and the New Kitakyushu Airport, located three kilometers off-shore, with 243 hectares of reclaimed land that can accommodate over 60 enterprises.
The Port of Kitakyushu's Kokura area contains the Sunatsu ferry wharf with regular ferry service lines. The Port of Kitakyushu is currently building a convention center and waterfront zone in the Kokura area to support its role as an international exchange hub. In Sunatsu area in the Port of Kitakyushu, the 2.9-hectare wharf site is being prepared for the ferry terminal for Matsuyama line to be moved here. Asano No.1 quay, which is 400 meters long with alongside depth of 7.5 meters, was made to be more earthquake-resistant. The Sunatsu area also contains a small pier for government ships and 1.9 hectares for harbor-related activities.
The Port of Kitakyushu's Kokura area offers seven berths and 963 meters of quay. Four berths have alongside depth of 5.5 meters, and three offer alongside depth of 9 meters. The Port of Kitakyushu's Sunatsu area contains a storage shelter, boarding facilities for passengers, an 11 thousand square meter freight-handling yard, and 365 meters of port roads.
The Port of Kitakyushu's Tobata/Doukai area is the only facility in the port with a protruding embankment. The facilities include ten berths with a total length of over 1.1 thousand meters. Seven berths have alongside depth of 6 meters. Two berths offer alongside depth of 7.3 meters, and one berth has alongside depth of 9 meters. The Tobata/Doukai area in the Port of Kitakyushu contains four storage shelters with a total area over 7.6 thousand square meters, boarding facilities for passengers of almost 11.9 thousand square meters, a freight-handling yard of 8.1 thousand square meters, and over 1.6 thousand meters of port roads.