Port of Busan
Review and History

The Port of Busan (also called Pusan) is the second largest city and the largest port in South Korea. Located at the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula, the Port of Busan is a little over 110 nautical miles east-southeast of the Port of Kitakyushu in Japan and about 247 kilometers east of Korea's Port of Mokpo. The Port of Busan is a metropolitan city under the direct control of South Korea's central government, giving it the effective status of a province. Located at the mouth of the Naktong River, the Port of Busan lies on a deep protected bay that faces Japan's Tsushima Islands about half-way across the Korea Strait between the two countries. In 2005, over 3.5 million people lived in the Port of Busan.

Panorama of Busan Harbor

Panorama of Busan Harbor

Taken from Busan Tower.
Photo by Lubo Zviera Ryba

Connected to the mainland by a drawbridge, Yong Island divides the Port of Busan. Foreign trade is focused in the eastern port, and fishing activities are based in the Port of Busan's smaller western port. In 2007, the American Association of Port Authorities ranked the Port of Busan the tenth busiest port in terms of total tonnage and the sixth busiest in terms of 20-foot TEUs of containerized cargoes. Major industries in the Port of Busan include shipbuilding, electronics, steel, automobiles, ceramics, paper, and chemicals. New industrial parks are bringing high-tech manufacturers to the Pusan as well. Tourism is growing in importance as people come for the hot springs and beaches. In addition to ferry routes between the Port of Busan and Japanese ports, the Port of Busan is served by a major railway, the Kimhae International Airport, and express buses.

Port History

Excavations of the Bokcheon-dong burial mounds in the Port of Busan uncovered grave goods that suggest a powerful and complex chiefdom inhabited the area when the Three Kingdoms of Korea were forming from the 2nd to the 4th Centuries AD.

Archaeologists found over 250 iron weapons and ingots in a wooden chamber tomb in today's Port of Busan. Called Geochilsan-guk (meaning "rough mountain"), the town was absorbed by nearby Silla and renamed Geochilsan-gun. The town was renamed Dongnae in 757.

Centum City<br>Busan

Centum City

Photo by superman2011

By the early 15th Century, the Port of Busan was a trading port with ties to Japan. Japanese were allowed to settle there. Unlike other Korean cities like Jinhae and Ulsan where the Japanese residences decreased, the settlement continued to exist until the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592.

When the Tokugawa Shogunate took over in Japan in the early 17th Century, diplomatic relations were formed between Korea and Japan. The old Japanese settlement in the Port of Busan was moved to Chroyang and continued to thrive until 1876 when the Port of Busan became Korea's first international port.



Photo by M.Minderhoud

Under Japanese rule, the Port of Busan became an important hub for trade with Japan. It also modernized quickly. The Port of Busan was Korea's only city to adopt steam tramways before electricity arrived in 1924.

Only two cities in South Korea escaped occupation by North Korean Communists during the Korean War: Jeju City and the Port of Busan. Because the Communists did not control the city, it became a major refugee site during that war.

For a time, the Port of Busan was the capital of the new Republic of Korea . In late 1950, troops sent by the United Nations established a defensive boundary, called the Pusan Perimeter, around the Port of Busan.

Busan International Ferry Terminal

Busan International Ferry Terminal

Photo by Kambayashi

Since the end of the Korean War , the Port of Busan has been a self-governing city with a strong urban character and atmosphere.

In the late 20th Century, the Port of Busan built a new container port and distribution center west of the old port on Gaduk Island near the mainland. The first stage of this new port area began operating in 2006, making the Port of Busan an important transport hub for that region of Northeast Asia.

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