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Drones banned from Shanghai port

Drones may well have been touted as a future vital tool for shipping at last week’s giant SMM exhibition in Hamburg, but ship operators are warned today not to bring these flying cameras to the world’s largest container port, where they are now banned.

In an client advisory, port agency GAC has warned China’s Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) will conduct special security inspections on vessels entering Shanghai’s Huangpu River and the Yangtze River from September 15 through to November 15.

Among a host of checks MSA will carry out, GAC stated that any ship entering the concerned waters carrying a drone will require it to dispose of the drone immediately before allowing entry to Shanghai port. Shanghai is the world’s largest container port and the second largest port in overall tonnage terms after Ningbo to the south of the city.

Drones have become increasingly popular over the last couple of years in shipping, especially for port operations, but also certain shipping lines, led by Wilhelmsen and Maersk, have trumpeted the technology.

An official at MSA told Splash today that the drone ban does not apply to all mainland ports and the administration is still working on measures to regulate drone use in certain port areas.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Would a simple solution not be just to lock any drones up under seal with bonded stores during port stay ?

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