Friday, August 24, 2012

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REPORT: Global container port throughput to hit 800 mil TEUs by 2017

Global container port throughput is projected to 800 million TEUs by 2017, according to an industry report.

Container port throughput has more than doubled since 2002, from 279.2 million TEUs to 588.8 million TEUs and within 10 years, the shipping industry "will easily be in excess of one billion TEUs per annum…based only on single digit growth each year," according to the The Global Container Terminal Operators Annual Review & Forecast 2012, released by Drewry Maritime Research.

"It's also quite possible that ships in excess of 20,000 TEUs will be in service on the main east-west routes," said the report's editor Neil Davidson, Drewry's senior advisor for ports.

"Regardless of the current economic uncertainties therefore, the industry is facing a huge challenge in terms of growth on more than one front," he said.

China, in particular, has been one of the drivers of global containerized growth, accounting for up to 30 percent of it compared to 19 percent 10 years ago on the heels of its entry into the World Trade Organization when the largest box ship was at 7,000-TEU capacity, as the largest such vessel is soon to be at 18,000 TEUs, the report said.

Terminal operators' ability to maintain healthy profits has been "surprising" given the global financial crash in 2007 that led to the first decline in world container port volume in 2009, along with consolidation of shipping lines trying to survive in the flagging Asia-Europe trade, and adjusting to a "the huge increase in ship sizes," the Drewry report said.

The impacts of "global financial uncertainty continues to loom, especially in Europe, although global container port demand is forecast to grow by 6 percent per year through 2017, with emerging economies responsible for the strongest growth" the report said.

The report listed the top five terminal operators for 2011, in terms of TEU volume, as Hutchison Port Holdings, APM Terminals, PSA, DP World and COSCO Group.

However, Drewry says new entrants into the list of top global terminal operators also include China Shipping Terminal Development, Gulftainer, China Merchants Holdings International, SAAM Ports, Noatum, and Ports America.

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