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Slow Growth In Global Port Production: Construction Of Terminals Has Picked Up
Nov 28, 2018


In May 2017, Shanghai international shipping research center released the global port development report (2016) (hereinafter referred to as the report).

The report pointed out that in 2016, the global economy continued to grow at a low speed for the sixth year in a row, with the growth rate of only 3.1 percent, against the background of profound adjustments in the world economy and changing political patterns.

Global port cargo throughput grew by 2.1% in 2016, up from a year earlier, but remains low overall.

In the first half of the year, the global economy continued to be sluggish and port production remained low and volatile.

In the second half of the year, the price of bulk goods fluctuated, trade demand recovered, and port production gradually improved.

Port cargo growth "snail crawl"

The report shows that the growth rate of port cargo in various regions has slowed down and the African market remains sluggish.

The export recovery in Europe has led to a mild increase in port throughput, with the growth rate of major ports showing a low trend, up by 2.2% year-on-year.

At the same time, the underlying growth momentum of the economies of the americas has not yet been consolidated. The periodic fluctuations of port trade have increased, and the throughput of major ports has dropped by 0.9%, the first negative growth in nearly five years.

Growth in most Asian ports slowed to about 2 per cent, but the region's overall port share remained 63 per cent.

As a supplier of iron ore and other commodities, Australia's international ore trade has been revitalized due to the expansion of market demand. Driven by commodity trade, port cargo volume has increased by 5%.

In Africa, affected by slowing economic growth and weakening foreign trade, port cargo volume dropped 4.4% year-on-year, maintaining a downward trend in the past two years.

The growth rate of global port container volume shows a trend of recovery quarter by quarter.

In 2016, the growth rate of global port container throughput rose from -1% in the first quarter to 4% at the end of the year, which experienced a slow climbing process. It was in sharp contrast to the quarter-on-quarter growth rate of the previous year and formed a u-shaped trend.

Among them, the growth rate of container volume at major ports in Asia increased slightly by 1.5%.

Europe stopped the decline and stabilized, with the growth rate of 1.9% and the volume of containers maintained at 120 million TEU.

Trade in North America shrank, and port growth slowed sharply to its lowest level in nearly five years.

South America and Africa are in negative growth;

By contrast, Oceania port volume growth rate and the previous year was basically flat.

Dry bulk handling showed differentiation

Global dry bulk cargo throughput is on the rise, and regional differences are gradually significant.

Boosted by China, the scale of global dry bulk shipping trade has grown steadily. However, due to the impact of economic development and industrial adjustment in other international regions, the demand for dry bulk trade has shown differentiated growth.

Among them, as new energy sources such as LNG and shale gas are further promoted globally as substitutes for traditional fossil fuels, the import demand and dependence on coal in Asia, Europe and America are greatly weakened.

As the world's leading exporter of coal, Australia's seaborne trade has slowed.

On the other hand, in 2016, iron ore trade maintained a moderate growth led by emerging economies, but the growth slowed down due to the decline in import demand from Europe, Japan, South Korea and other countries.

Global liquid bulk cargo throughput grew steadily.

At present, the pattern of global oil trade is undergoing profound changes, and the world energy consumption trade is gradually shifting from developed regions such as North America and Europe to emerging markets such as the asia-pacific.

With the economic and urban consumption levels of Asian countries such as China and India improving, the demand for energy is increasing day by day.

Among them, the major oil ports in Asia, where consumers live, grew rapidly. The throughput of oil cargo in Singapore increased by 13.1% year on year, the throughput of oil cargo in ports over the scale of China increased by 8.3%, and the throughput of oil cargo in South Korea increased by 5.5%.

However, due to the peaking of energy consumption and the wide application of new energy technologies in Europe, the liquid and bulk throughput of ports of various economies has leveled off.

Similarly, due to the impact of shale gas elastic production increase and large domestic crude oil inventory, the throughput of ports in the americas showed a downward trend in the first half of the year and gradually recovered in the second half.

 Global port cargo volume is expected to maintain steady growth this year

With the completion of the restructuring of shipping alliance in 2016 and the decrease of international fuel price, the operation cost of ships will be reduced, which is conducive to the development of international maritime trade in the future.

Investment in infrastructure in emerging economies is likely to slow, but growth is still strong, so trade in commodities such as ore, in addition to traditional fossil fuels such as coal, will continue to grow by about 1.5 per cent.

Although global port container throughput growth is at an all-time low, the future demand for international maritime container trade is about 3 per cent, given that emerging economies such as southeast Asia and central Asia are investing heavily in the construction and expansion of container terminals worldwide.

Port operators around the world are doing well.

Driven by the domestic and foreign trade demand of Chinese ports and favorable factors such as port and shipping industry joint venture, the share of terminal capacity controlled by global terminal operators has increased from 59.8% in 2015 to 60.9% in 2016.

Among them, east Asia, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent as well as the European region, the proportion of global terminal operators will be as high as 64% to 70%.

Among them, the throughput of equity of the world's top six terminal operators shows a positive growth of varying degrees, and the total volume completed in 2016 accounts for about 30% of the total global container volume.

Singapore international still ranks first, with the volume of containers increasing by 4.5% year on year, mainly due to the successful overseas investment strategy. The volume of containers in Singapore has been declining for two consecutive years.

The consolidated cosco seaport group moved up the dubai global rankings to the top five, with equity throughput up 1.9 per cent year on year.

Hutchison whampoa's equity throughput fell 2.4 per cent year on year and is expected to fall further as a result of reduced demand for transshipment cargo in Asia and competition from operators of similar terminals.

Construction of container and LNG terminals was accelerated

The completion of the "One Belt And One Road" strategy and the expansion of the panama canal in 2016 has boosted the construction of container terminals around the world.

Southeast Asia has actively accelerated the development of new ports and wharves to provide trade support for domestic manufacturing industry.

Both Indonesia and Malaysia have proposed to expand the existing domestic hub ports in the next 15 years and expand the construction of other feeder ports in China.

Meanwhile, due to the expansion of the panama canal, the construction of container terminals in the gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean region is also under way.

In order to cope with the larger container ships, the major ports in the eastern United States have been actively updating equipment, expanding ports and building related infrastructure.

In addition, the international maritime organization (imo) strengthened the emission limits of sulfur oxides from ships, which ushered in new development for the construction of LNG terminals around the world.

In 2016, eight of the 13 major LNG terminal construction projects in the world were in China, with the total gasification capacity accounting for nearly 70% of the total projects.

The port of gothenburg in Europe cooperated with the port of Rotterdam on LNG refueling specifications, preferential port fee policies and LNG terminal expansion, and actively promoted the popularization of LNG ship fuel refueling in European ports.

The United States, Singapore, Japan and other countries have actively invested in and explored technologies for LNG terminal construction and fuel refueling.


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