A bar chart released by Drewry Shipping Consultants shows the projected capacity increase of the main global port and terminal operators in the next five years in TEU terms.
It was previously reported by PTI that the capacity increase of megaships is currently causing an investment boom among port and terminal operators, as well as factors relating to the jump in global container port demand.
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Experts have said that in order to facilitate the increase in mega-ship sizes, new methods of handling ships must be considered, including vessel-stowage planning, port optimisation and workers operating more closely with various divisions in the supply chain to minimise congestion.
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Neil Davidson, Senior Analyst for Ports and Terminals at Drewry, said: “Overall, the capacity expansion being made by the industry over the next 5 years is enough to meet forecast demand, even though the rate of capacity growth is slightly below the rate of forecast demand growth. Projected average utilisation rises, but not significantly.
“However, there are more significant variations at the regional level, and ultimately what matters is the micro level – individual port markets and increasingly the specific nature of capacity at the terminal level. More so than ever, all terminal capacity is not the same given the advent of ULCVs and their very high end requirements.”
Although many terminal operators are presumably earmarking considerable amounts for port investments (around US$30 billion in the next five years), the recent stock market crash in China may cause problems for the global supply chain, and even port development as China’s productivity slumps.
Davidson concludes: “The current issues with the Chinese economy are certainly a big uncertainty and it is too soon to say what effect this may have on demand over the next 5 years. As ever, this is the challenge faced by terminal operators and ports – having to make expensive very long term fixed investments in the face of an uncertain world.”