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Global Ports Enjoying A Production Recovery in 2017
Date:2018-04-18 Readers:


Shanghai International Shipping Institute (SISI) released the Global Port Development Report (2017) in April 2018. The report points out that after ten years of moderate adjustment, the global economy has basically entered a transition stage from recovery to prosperity, various indicators of major global economies are improving and stabilizing, with the economic growth hitting 3.6%. With the stabilizing global economy overall and increasingly active world trade, the global port and shipping industry is expected to enter a consolidation stage before a new era of growth. In 2017, the cargo throughput of major ports around the world grew by more than 5%.


1. Global ports enter growth consolidation stage


  •  European ports see steady growth


In 2017, the Eurozone and its major member states presented robust economic performance. Boosted by the recovering manufacturing industry and the growth of domestic and foreign demands, the international import and export trade in the Eurozone became increasingly active. In 2017, the cargo throughput of major ports in Europe increased by 4.9% year on year.


  • American ports rally


In 2017, the PMI and CCI of the manufacturing industry in the U.S. were at high levels, and its real estate market picked up again. Benefited from the short-term economic rally and the increasing major bulks trade in the U.S., the cargo throughput of major ports in America surged by 7.1% year on year. However, the U.S. has a strong tendency to resort to trade protectionism and industrial protectionism. Under Donald Trump administration, the trade growth may underperform the economic growth, and a great uncertainty still exists in 2018.


  • Asian ports see faster growth


With the regional economy boom in Asia, major ports in Asia embraced satisfactory production performance in 2017. With China's increasing economic impact on Asia, exports from Japan, South Korea and the ASEAN countries to China maintained high. In addition, the increasing quality of China's products also boosted China’s export volume, resulting in a 7.2% year-on-year growth rate of the cargo throughput by major ports in Asia.

Chinese ports performed well in production. With the overall recovery of global foreign trade, China's reform and opening-up and the advance of its "Belt and Road" strategy, China’s domestic and foreign trade demands were on a constant rise, driving up both the transport volume and imports and exports. In addition, China’s domestic consumption demand kept expanding, as evidenced by a strong upward trend in its domestic cargo throughput. In 2017, China’s ports above a designated scale accomplished a cargo throughput of 12.64 billion t, up by 6.9% year on year. Specifically, the foreign trade cargo throughput was 4 billion t, up by 6.4% year on year, and the domestic cargo throughput was 8.64 billion t, up by 7.1% year on year.

South Korean ports enjoy stable production performance. In 2017, South Korean ports accomplished a cargo throughput of 1.57 billion t, up by 4.1% year on year, higher than the growth rate in last year by 0.9 percentage points. Specifically, its automobile exports and coal imports grew by a considerable margin, namely 14.4% and 11.6%, respectively.


  •  African ports see stable growth


In 2017, Africa's foreign trade demand enjoyed a steady rise with the improving economic situation in Africa and in-depth cooperation between China and the African countries along the "Belt and Road". The cargo throughput of major ports in Africa rose by 3.5% year on year.


  • Australian ports grow slowly


In 2017, cargo throughput growth of major ports in Australia slowed down due to the impact of Hurricane Debbie and the contiguous humid weather, with a yearly cargo throughput growth rate of only 2.3%. Specifically, the throughput slumped by more than 7.2% at the Port of Hay Point, the biggest coal port in Australia.


Table 1 Global Top 20 Ports by Cargo Throughput in 2017

(Unit: 10,000 tons)

Rank

Port

Cargo Throughput

Growth Rate

2017

2016

Trend

2017

2016

1

1

Ningbo-Zhoushan

100711

91777

9.73%

2

2

Shanghai

70563

70005

0.80%

3

3

Singapore

62617

59330

5.54%

4

4

Suzhou

60774

57376

5.92%

5

6

Guangzhou

56619

52181

8.51%

6

7

Tangshan

56540

51580

9.62%

7

8

Qingdao

50799

50083

1.43%

8

9

Port Hedland

50533

48451

4.30%

9

5

Tianjin

50284

54914

-8.43%

10

10

Rotterdam

46735

46118

1.34%

11

11

Dalian

45105

42873

5.21%

12

12

Busan

40051

36235

10.53%

13

14

Yingkou

36239

34702

4.43%

14

13

Rizhao

36002

35062

2.68%

15

15

South Louisiana

30786

29491

4.39%

16

16

Gwangyang

29183

28304

3.11%

17

17

Yantai

28560

26536

7.63%

18

18

Hong Kong

28155

25673

9.67%

19

19

Zhanjiang

28152

25517

10.33%

20

20

Huanghua

26957

24511

9.98%

Source of data: websites of port authorities, the Ministry of Transport of China.


2. Global container ports enjoy robust growth

In 2017, the international container market constantly picked up under the impact of the recovering global economy and trade environment. The throughput of global container ports rose by 6% year on year to 740 million TEUs, hitting a six-year high. It is estimated that, boosted by the active international commodity trade and consumption market, the container throughput of global ports will maintain a strong growing momentum in 2018. In particular, with adjustment in business modes such as cross-border e-commerce and cross-border online shopping, and with transformation in transport modes such as "bulk-to-containerized cargo", the container throughput growth at global ports will still be better than the cargo throughput. However, more cargo will go through direct routes to ensure timeliness and efficiency of transportation, so the number of transshipped containers at ports will keep decreasing, and the proportion of empty containers will increase.


  • Asian ports see big boost


In 2017, China's strong economic growth significantly boosted Asia's import and export trade. The container quantity at major ports in Asia further grew, registering a sharp increase of 5.8% year on year to 400 million TEUs. Specifically, China’s ports above a designated scale finished 240 million TEUs of container throughput, accounting for 60% of the Asian total.

China’s container ports maintained high growth. Driven by the stable economic growth and further advance of the "Belt and Road" strategy, China's foreign trade maintained a satisfactory rise in 2017. China’s ports above a designated scale registered a year-on-year growth rate of 9.1% in container throughput. Specifically, big container ports such as Shanghai, Ningbo-Zhoushan and Guangzhou delivered outstanding performance. Shanghai Port accomplished a container throughput of more than 40 million TEUs, up by 8.2%. Meanwhile, Ningbo-Zhoushan Port and Guangzhou Port presented even stronger growth of container throughput, namely 14.2% and 8.2%, respectively.

Southeast Asian container ports saw stable growth. In 2017, the container throughput growth of Southeast Asian ports ran flat with that in the previous year at about 3%. Amid shipping alliance restructuring and liner companies’ adjustment of their ports of call, the competition among major container ports in Southeast Asia intensified. Specifically, the container throughput of Port Tanjung, a port that alliances seldom called at, declined sharply, while Port of Singapore and Port of Tanjung Pelepas, the two chosen as pivotal ports by shipping alliances, showed good performance in terms of container throughput, with their growth reaching 8.2% and 3.4%, respectively.


  •  European ports maintain stable growth


In 2017, buoyed by the overall trade recovery in Europe and the strong growth of containers on the shipping routes of North America, Latin America and the Far East, the container throughput of major ports in Europe maintained stable growth of 5.0%, up by 1.7 percentage points over that last year.


  •  American ports see gratifying growth in container quantity


In 2017, the trade transportation demand in the U.S. was inhibited to some extent under the impact of the governmental-dominated "local economy" and "industrial return" program. However, the stable economic growth in the country boosted domestic trade and trade with surrounding countries, and ensured the constant improvement of foreign trade and the rapid development of imports and exports. Therefore, the container throughput of major ports in the U.S. maintained rapid growth of 7.4% in 2017.


  •   Growth of African container ports rallies


In 2017, the container throughput of African ports rose by 5.6% year on year, shaping a stark contrast with with the drop of 3.4% last year. This can be primarily attributed to the impetus of China's "Belt and Road" strategy which has increased the infrastructure investment in Africa and stimulated the growth of Africa's local economy and trade. Meanwhile, with other international investment enhancing and trade demand of construction projects surging, Africa's local economic and trade demand also rose steadily.


Table 2 Global Top 20 Ports by Container Throughput in 2017

(Unit: 10,000 TEUs)

Rank

Port

Container Throughput

Growth Rate

2017

2016

Trend

2017

2016

1

1

Shanghai

4023

3713

8.35%

2

2

Singapore

3367

3090

8.96%

3

3

Shenzhen

2521

2411

4.56%

4

4

Ningbo-Zhoushan

2461

2157

14.09%

5

5

Hong Kong

2076

1963

5.73%

6

6

Busan

2047

1946

5.19%

7

7

Guangzhou

2037

1858

9.63%

8

8

Qingdao

1830

1801

1.61%

9

9

Los Angeles-Long Beach

1688

1564

7.93%

10

10

Dubai

1540

1539

0.06%

11

11

Tianjin

1507

1450

3.93%

12

13

Rotterdam

1373

1239

10.82%

13

12

Kelang

1198

1305

-8.20%

14

15

Antwerp

1045

1004

4.08%

15

16

Xiamen

1038

960

8.13%

16

14

Kaohsiung

1027

1046

-1.82%

17

17

Dalian

971

959

1.15%

18

18

Hamburg

880

891

-1.23%

19

19

Tanjung Pelepas

826

799

3.38%

20

20

Laem Charbang

778

719

8.21%

Source of data: official websites of ports, the Ministry of Transport of China.


3. Global dry bulk ports see stable growth

In 2017, the mean value of BDI was 1,145 points, up by 70% year on year. The freight rate gradually entered an uptrend of recovery and adjustment, and the international demand for iron ore and coal rose on the whole. Because of the growth in emerging economies and the accelerating urbanization progress, major countries and regions such as India and ASEAN had rapidly growing demand for infrastructure materials, and the growth of iron ore throughput picked up at major ports. In terms of coal, 2017 marks the first year after Paris Agreement came into effect, and various countries in the world pushed forward energy transformation and upgrading, weakening the global demand for coal consumption. In addition, the focus of global coal consumption at ports exhibited an eastward trend. Developed countries such as European countries used clean energy to replace coal, while most Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia used coal for power generation, driving up the coal demand.


Table 3 Dry Bulk Cargo Throughput of Major Ports in 2017

(Unit: 10,000 tons)

Port

2015

2016

2017

Growth Rate of 2016

Growth Rate of 2017

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Total

Hedland

44626

47893

11603

13176

12628

13126

50533

7.32%

5.51%

Qinhuangdao*

21740

15177

5609

5385

5591

5565

22150

-30.19%

45.94%

Rotterdam

8774

8230

2172

1963

1980

1902

8017

-6.20%

-2.59%

Singapore

1815

1864

440

495

438

486

1859

2.70%

-0.27%

Antwerp

1380

1255

315

297

308

298

1218

-9.04%

-3.70%

Source of data: official websites of ports, the Ministry of Transport of China.


4.  Global liquid bulk throughput grows slowly

In 2017, with the international oil price fluctuating up within a narrow range, 24 major oil producers, including OPEC member states, reached a capacity trimming agreement featuring 1.8 million barrels per day for the first time over the past eight years, and the agreement was extended to the end of 2018, which was a major driver of the rising price. The long-term petroleum capacity trimming agreement by OPEC member states reduces the global petroleum supply, resulting in the slow growth of global shipping volume of liquid bulk on the whole.

Benefiting from China's policy that allows local oil refining enterprises in Shandong to import crude oil independently, Qingdao Port, one of the major crude oil ports, maintained strong growth in crude oil throughput which rose by 5.7% year on year. Russia's fuel oil export decreased, resulting in a 10.8% decline of mineral oil and petroleum throughput. The liquid bulk throughput at Port of Antwerp showed good performance, rising by 5.7% year on year to 73.13 million t.


5. Most global terminal operators see growth in equity throughput

In 2017, the top six terminal operators in the world finished a total of 250 million TEUs of equity throughput. Except COSCO Shipping Ports Limited which suffered negative growth, all other terminal operators enjoyed positive growth in equity throughput. Specifically, the total throughput decrease of COSCO Shipping can be primarily ascribed to the fact that the throughput of Qianwan Container Terminal of Qingdao was no longer counted in. Hutchison Whampoa got rid of negative growth. DP World enjoyed satisfactory performance, with its throughput growth, up to 24.7, leading major terminal operators. With the global economic and trade recovery gaining speed, it is estimated that the equity throughput of terminal operators will continue to grow.


Table 4 Equity Throughput Rank of Global Terminal Operators in 2017

Rank

Operator

2017/10,000 TEUs

2016/ 10,000 TEUs

Year-on-year Growth/%

1

PSA

5740*

5240

9.5%

2

HPH

4650*

4560

2.0%

3

APMT

3970

3730

6.4%

4

CMPort

3779

3490

8.3%

5

DPW

3648

2924

24.7%

6

COSCO Shipping Ports

2940

2961

-0.6%

Total

Six operators combined

24727

22905

8.0%

Note: * stands for estimated values;

Source of data: websites of terminal operators.


6. Investment in global terminals slows down

In 2017, the investment in global ports showed a trend of moderate growth, and the port investment and infrastructure construction in various countries slowed down. As ships get larger in size, ports already started reconstruction and expansion or entered operation, and the demand for investing in and building new ports was not strong yet. In addition, terminals in some regions suffered from relatively low utilization and high idleness. The demand for major bulks, in particular, fluctuated greatly, which retarded port investment. Judging by construction demand, local ports and terminals were updated and built in some regions primarily for the purpose of promoting investment and stimulating economy, while overseas investment focused more on port profitability. Therefore, large-scale terminal construction has been decreasing. Region-specific, underdeveloped regions such as South America and Africa showed great enthusiasm for construction. At some terminals, the investment was even dominated by ship companies to reduce logistics costs of shipping networks. Some veteran port operators and global terminal operators preferred regional pivotal ports, and renovated or expanded terminals to gather cargoes in the region. 

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