Container port traffic exceeds 6%

Global container port throughput Q12018 Global container port throughput was up 6.2%

The global container port traffic growth rate continues to exceed 6% and terminal mergers and acquisitions offer the best potential to thrive in the current container ports and terminal market.

Drewry shared its market insight in its latest container ports webinar, confirming global container port throughput has been accelerating since 2016. Q1 2018 Global container port throughput was up 6.2% compared to 6.3% in Q4 2017. Q3 2017 was up 6% and Q2 2017 was up 4.9%.

However, Drewry analyst Neil Davidson warned terminal industry returns are declining, while trade wars and sanctions are creating potential future problems.

Margins maintained

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation margins are being maintained by the industry amongst softening of demand growth, higher opex and capex due to bigger ships, increased business risks from larger liner alliances and carriers pressuring for lower prices.

Mr Davidson said lower returns were not just a result of larger alliances, but the industry is turning to solutions including hybrid terminal operation and more joint venture agreements.

COSCO Shipping Ports and China Merchants Port Holdings are under threat from the US–China trade war.

Mr Davidson said that “if this continues to be an issue the US will become more isolated in trade” and there will be greater reticence to trade with the county. He added that we may see a “weakening of trade”.

He noted there was little change in the top 10 container port connectivity index, larger vessels at East Coast North America ports on Asia trade routes with little change in vessel sizes on other routes.

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