Tuesday, November 15, 2011

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APM Terminals CFO: Terminals must anticipate "new era of ports"

Although container-shipping volumes are in the midst of a soft economic cycle, APM Terminals Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Christian Moller Laursen said marine terminals must anticipate a "new era in ports" as current global throughput of 600 million TEUs is forecast to double within 15 years.

Addressing the recent Port Finance International Conference in London, Laursen said the "aggressive investment" of shipping lines in containerships of 10,000-TEUs and up will place more pressure on terminal operations capacity and productivity.

"Container yards processing significantly larger container volumes from individual vessels as well as general global volume growth will have to be able to have cargoes moved in time for the next scheduled vessel call, when the process will begin all over again, often in a matter of just a few days, or as just seen, in some cases on a daily basis," Laursen said.

Container terminal facilities need to be designed to handle the largest containerships that are already on order while operating within stricter environmental constraints, safety performance parameters, and "dedicated access to interior commercial, population and industrial centers," Laursen said.

APM Terminals is developing a new terminal at the Port of Rotterdam that will be able to handle up to 4.5 million TEUs per annum with direct rail access, in addition to a $1 billion container-handling facility in Moin, Costa Rica that the Danish company says is meant to capitalize on the Panama Canal's post-Panamax widening in late 2014. Both are examples of what Laursen termed "new era" box-handling facilities.

"The port industry does not have the luxury of being able to react to changes in the market environment; we must be able to anticipate and be able to deliver the terminal capacity and productivity that our customers will require…That's what the New Era is all about," Laursen said.



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