The Naha Port Authority is responsible for managing and maintaining the Port of Naha. Until 1972, the United States and the Okinawa Prefecture developed separate parts of the Port of Naha. From 1972 until 2002, the City of Naha administered the port. In 2002, the Naha Port Authority was created.
The port is vital to the economic health and development of Okinawa Prefecture. The port authority considers maintaining the coastal environment an important function with promoting and operating the Port of Naha. The Naha Port Authority’s Current projects include creating a terminal for international cruise ships, developing a logistics center, and assuring that citizens and visitors have a fun, safe waterfront area. The port is located near Shanghai and between the ports of Busan and Kaohsiung, which have both achieved remarkable growth as international container ports.
The Port of Naha consists of four terminal areas: Naha Terminal, Shinko Terminal, Tomari Terminal, and Urasoe Terminal. With a depth of nine meters, the Naha Terminal supports ferries and roll-on/roll-off vessels that transport cargo to and from Kagoshima Prefecture and outer islands. The Port of Naha’s Shinko Terminal has a depth of 14 meters, and it services container trade with the United States as well as ferries and roll-on/roll-off vessels traveling to and from Japan’s main island. The Tomari Terminal, at a depth of six meters, handles tourist boats and ferries and passenger vessels to and from neighboring islands. With a depth of 7.5 meters, the Urasoe Terminal serves tramp vessels.
As the gateway to Okinawa, the Port of Naha supports the economies of over 40 nearby islands. It handles more than 50 shipping routes that include container shipping for Asia and North America. In 2001, the Port of Naha handled 9.7 million tons of cargo, including 1.2 million tons of international cargo and 76 thousand TEUs of international containerized cargo. The volume of domestic cargo was 8.5 million tons and 234 thousand TEUs. Of the 9.7 million total, 7.1 million tons were imports and 2.6 million were exports. In the same year, the Port of Naha handled 311.5 thousand TEUs of containerized cargo, including 76.2 thousand TEUs of foreign cargo and 235.3 thousand TEUs of domestic trade.
The Port of Naha’s International Container Terminal is operated by stevedoring companies on a short-term lease. The terminal includes three berths of a total length of 950 meters. The oldest berth (1997) is 300 meters long with alongside depth of 14 meters. Berth No. 10 was completed in 2005, and it is 300 meters long with alongside depth of 15 meters. The newest berth, No. 11, will be 350 meters long with alongside depth of 15 meters. The container terminal at the Port of Naha covers 385 thousand square meters and can handle up to 800 thousand TEUs of cargo per year.
The Port of Naha has developed a plan to take full advantage of the port infrastructure and support Okinawa’s economic development. The major goals of the plan are to promote international maritime traffic through competitive rates and increased container traffic; promote international tourism and develop a new coastal resort zone; to restructure the existing four terminals to specialize in specific cargo and passenger services; to protect and improve the environment, particularly at the Urasoe coast; and to provide high-quality safety and security by designing special earthquake resistant terminal areas.
According to the development plan, the functions of the four terminals will be restructured. The Naha Terminal will serve ferries and passenger ships between neighboring islands. The Tomari Terminal will specialize in tourism, passenger vessels, and sightseeing boats. The Shinko Terminal will continue to serve international container traffic with separate logistics zones for international and domestic cargoes. The Urasoe Terminal will be a marine protection zone and coastal resort zone. It will also support port-related industries.