"Mediocre" performance stifles global ports

Shipping containers 92.57m teus of containers were handled in Q3 2018. Credit: Pixabay

Global major terminal operators maintained a throughput of 41.69m teus in Q3 2018, but the “growth rate of the global terminal operators fell further to 5.8%, the lowest in the past two years,” a new report shows.

The Shanghai International Shipping Institute’s ‘Global Port Development Report of Q3 2018’ found global terminal operators had a “mediocre” performance in Q3 and Chinese and US ports in particular have suffered as a result of the US-China trade war.

The report confirms that “the escalating Sino-US trade war and shipping alliances' trim or shutdown of liners and control on shipping space hindered the growth of the container shipping market.”

Container throughout down

Cargo throughput in the world's major ports in Q3 2018 is up 7.4% year-on-year, but the growth rate of container throughput has declined, showed the report.

Cargo throughput rose to over 3.01bn tonnes in Q3 2018, but container throughout fared less well with 92.57m teus of containers handled, merely increasing 2.7% year-on-year.

Performance in production suffered as the escalating China-US trade friction ripped over to products suitable for container shipping, such as small-sized equipment and white goods.

Among the US ports, the Port of South Louisiana and the Port of Long Beach were most affected. The import and export volumes of major products hit by the tariff all fell to various extents, and the cargo throughput of these two ports dropped 1.9% and 3.4% year-on-year, respectively.

Of the Chinese ports, Shenzhen Port has the highest proportion of container throughput for the China-US shipping routes, which accounts for 27% of its overall container throughput. The trade war will dampen its business related to the international shipping routes by 4.5%, stated the report.

As trade friction continued to escalate, the throughput of Shenzhen Port fell 2.6% year-on-year to 6.9 million teus; with slow growth in exports and a withering container volume transferring to China and exporting to the US, the port saw its container throughput plunge 10.4% year-on-year to 4.82m teus.

Other issues which impacted growth and performance included increasingly strict environmental protection policies and a downward trend in global dry bulk cargo throughput.

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