Introduction: port reform in the Asia-Pacific region
Apart from the temporary check caused by the Asian crisis of 1997, in the last three decades there has been spectacular economic growth in many countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The economies of Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand have all participated to varying degrees in what is commonly referred to as the 'East Asian Miracle'.! More recently, the rapid growth of China and India has led to speculation that the 21st century will be the 'Asian Century' (Brown, 2006, p. 5). This growth has placed increasing pressure on the capacity of the transport infrastructure, especially roads, railways and ports. For the export-orientated Asian economies, ports are particularly important as gateways to the global economy. According to one prediction, Asia's share of global trade volumes will increase from 59 per cent in 2002 to 61 per cent by 2015, while servicing these volumes will require about 570 new berths costing US$35 billion? China alone will need to increase container handling capacity by about 40 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) by 2011 to cope with the projected demand for container shipping services.