W Africa ports fuel shipping boom


A new report from liner shipping resource Alphaliner has revealed a 250% rise in container ship capacity in the Asia to W Africa trade over the past five years, reported JOC.com.

Since 2009, ship capacity more than doubled in the Far East-W Africa trade, rising from 170,000 TEU in 2009 to 590,000 TEU in 2014. Over the same period, the average vessel size also increased from 2,300 TEU to 3,800 TEU. By 2017, the trade lane could see ships of up to 9,000 TEU.

Alphaliner revealed that the Far East-W Africa trade is the fastest-growing intercontinental trade, contrasting with much lower volume growth in most other trades.

Although troubled by historic congestion and ageing infrastructure, this is no longer the case, said Alphaliner, with at least 10 ports in W Africa that can handle ships of 4,000 TEU. Also, Panamax ships of 5,000 TEU and under that are being pushed out of larger trade lanes are being deployed on the W Africa loop.

Alphaliner reported that an increasing number of ships (around 50%) that use W African ports are gearless, with no onboard cranes. This is in contrast to the situation prior to 2010, where ships with their own cranes were crucial on the trade lane, and only reached 3,500 TEU.

Maersk introduced 22 geared ships capable of handling 4,500 TEU through 2013, and these are still in the trade.

“Ship cranes are becoming increasingly dispensable as new infrastructure developments have made most W Africa ports accessible to larger, gearless ships,” Alphaliner said.

TOC Events is bringing its world famous brand to Tenerife with a one-off market briefing to focus on the booming region of West Africa. 

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