Stability emerging for container ship calls

container ship Container ship calls are returning to normal for over 50% of ports. Photo: Maritime Filming UK/ Pixabay

Despite less vessel calls than before the COVID-19 pandemic started, cargo volumes are returning in some regions.

This is according to the eleventh and final bi-weekly version of the IAPH-WPSP Port Economic Impact Barometer report, which found that with generalised lockdowns now limited, the return of vessels and the lower numbers of blank sailings continue, yet these happen at a slow pace. As a result, for the first time since starting the measurements, the percentage of ports reporting that the number of container ships calls corresponds to a normal situation has exceeded the 50% threshold.

A similar reporting percentage has been recorded in the case of calls of vessels carrying other types of cargoes. Some of the ports that experience a decline of the number of container ships calls reported that further improvement is present but not entirely captured (i.e. vessel calls were just over 5% less than normal).

Several ports are certain that in the current conditions and given the numbers of blank sailings of coming weeks they will soon head to almost similar numbers of calls compared to the same period the year before.

At the same time, maritime trade volumes have also started to increase, as several economies, or major parts of them, have returned to operations and increased number of transactions.

A summary Barometer  report in September will include a section on the way forward, with specific focus on tracking cargo flows, digitalization in ports and the challenges and approaches to risk and resilience in the port environment

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