Terminal alliances could be the key to the ‘triple whammy’ effects of larger alliances, larger ships and the cascading of mega-ships, with the notion that terminal alliances are a ‘no brainer’ for port and terminal operators, according to The Loadstar.
In a previous article by PTI, an infographic showed the total number of terminal alliances, with Hutchison Port Holdings having the largest number of joint-ventures.
Neil Davidson of Drewry Shipping Consultants, said: “It is the terminal yards that are really feeling the pain of the peaks caused by large amount of boxes being exchanged in the single call of an ultra-large container vessel (ULCV) – that’s where the pressure is felt, and where we are seeing a terminal that was built 10 years ago with a quay length and yard size now not fit for purpose.
“The relationship between the quay and yard is changing, but you can’t always extend the yard, or you may not want to – land is expensive or may not be available – so there is much more obsolescence of terminals.”
While major carriers have unanimously formed alliances with other container lines, terminal alliances look to be the next step for operators to achieve faster turnaround times and a reduction in costs.
Therefore, it could also be a long-awaited solution for tackling congestion.
Tellingly, since the ports of Tacoma and Seattle formed their alliance recently, each has increased box throughput by significant amounts.
Drewry argue that 3,000-3,500 based on a crude multiple of 24 hours is a realistic target for mega-ship handling. However, to achieve Maersk’s request of 6,000 moves it would require ports to massively increase berth moves per hour to never witnessed before levels.
Realistically this could be expensive for terminal operators, suggesting that terminal alliances may be an option for operators to remain productive while saving costs on additional equipment.