Looking at the bigger picture

Neil Davidson: “There also needs to be more alliance between ports and operators just as there is in the shipping industry” Neil Davidson: “There also needs to be more alliance between ports and operators just as there is in the shipping industry”

Drewry’s latest global container operators report gives an insight into the industry over the past year and highlights the combined impact that bigger ships and shipping alliances are having on ports and terminals.

Neil Davidson, senior analyst ports and terminals, Drewry, said: “This issue is probably having the most impact on the industry at the moment. Bigger ships and more alliances means more segmentation of terminal capacity, the need to handle bigger throughput peaks and the question of automation.”

He pointed out that it also means demand for fewer larger terminals in each port and higher operating and capital costs for operators.

When it comes to Drewry’s league tables in terms of throughput (teu) and equity (teu) Hutchison Ports, APM Terminals and PSA International still lead the way.

HPH leads the way with 80.2m teu of throughput in 2014, while PSA is at top in terms of equity. PSA is also up there in terms of adding additional capacity hoping to add 24m teu by 2019.

The report examines the fastest growing markets with South East Asia and the east coast of North America coming out top and the west coast of North America and north west Europe the slowest growing.

In terms of port and terminal expansion plans, the trend continues for greenfield expansion in emerging markets.

Mr Davidson said that the report shows that the terminal industry is growing increasingly complex.

“Some expansion projects may be delayed in the face of softening demand. It illustrates just how quickly demand can change but how capacity is more slow to follow suit.”

Ports and terminals will need to choose how to act in future he said.

“They won’t want to put up prices or choose not to invest so they will need to collaborate more closely with shipping lines and make investments more collaborative. There also needs to be more alliance between ports and operators just as there is in the shipping industry.”

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