Drewry forecasts growth in box port demand

Cosco China Cosco Shipping has had a 44% increase in terminal acquisition activity. Image courtesy of Bert Knottenbeld/ Wikimedia

Drewry’s latest five-year global container port demand forecast is 4.3% per annum, up from last year.

The maritime consultancy made the announcement in its summary of the key trends and developments in the global container port and terminal industry.

Projected port capacity expansion is 2.7% per annum, so average utilisation levels will rise, said Drewry.

Neil Davidson, senior analyst ports and terminals at Drewry, pointed out, however, that there is a strong focus on optimisation of existing facilities as opposed to building new ones and that terminal operators are focusing on cost control and efficiency to maintain project margins.

Upward trend

Drewry’s latest assessment of port throughput indices showed that the global index fell in September 2017 but was 10 points up on September 2016 and 12 points up on 2015.

Mr Davidson said that the growth rate in 2017 showed a sustained upward trend.

North America and Latin America showed the highest annual increases, 12.6 and 11.1 respectively, while Europe had the lowest increase at 4.4%.

The top five global terminal operators were calculated as being PSA International, Hutchinson Ports, DP World, APM Terminals and China Cosco Shipping.

This was followed by China Merchants Port Holdings, Terminal Invetsment Limited (TIL), ICTSI, Evergreen and Eurogate.

Terminal ownership

Liner shipping mergers have had knock-on effects in terms of terminal ownership and consolidation.

Hanjin’s bankruptcy generated M&A activity, while China Cosco Shipping has had a 44% increase in terminal acquisition activity, accelerated by its merger with China Shipping and OOCL and Noatum acquisitions.

PSA is the next biggest contributor with Singapore and JNPT accounting for around half the increase.

APM Terminals, CMA CGM and DP World also made the list.

Container terminal ownership is becoming increasingly intertwine with more movement towards global international hybrids, said Drewry.

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