The Port of Kushiro is located on the eastern shores of Hokkaido, Japan’s second largest island, where the Kushiro River meets the Pacific Ocean. It is the biggest city and capital of the island, with a population of over 190 thousand in 2005.
The Port of Kushiro is home to thriving fisheries and coal and pulp and paper industries that grew as the port grew. The port serves the country’s leading agricultural and dairy region. In 1948, the Port of Kushiro celebrated its 50th anniversary, and the Kushiro Port Festival has been held every summer since then.
Japanese immigrants settled the Port of Kushiro in 1870. By 1900, it had become a First Class Municipality. The Port of Kushiro was given city status in 1922. In 2005, it was merged with Akan and Onbetsu to form the new Kushiro City.
With an excellent natural harbor at the mouth of the river, the Port of Kushiro is Japan’s largest fishing and commercial port in eastern Hokkaido.
The Matsumae clan sent ships to establish trade with the Ainu in the middle 17th Century. The modern Port of Kushiro was opened officially in 1899, and it was designated a major port in 1951.
The original plans for the port were laid out by British engineer C.S. Make in 1888, and the final design was finished by Sekiya, an engineer from the Hokkaido government, in 1908. The budget for the Port of Kushiro was approved in 1909, and construction began in today’s East Port. The development of the original West Port began in 1969.
The Port of Kushiro has seen an increasing volume of cargo traffic in the last decades. When vessel waiting times (to enter the port) became onerous, modernizations and revisions were approved in 1996. A third wharf was added to the West Port, and a new fourth wharf and breakwater was begun in 1998 and completed in 2002 when three new berths, including the first 14-meter quay in east Hokkaido was completed. Support for container traffic was also completed in 2002, with trade established with the Port of Busan, Korea.