The global container port and terminal industry is facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the deployment of ever larger containerships combined with the creation of larger shipping line alliances. These two interrelated factors are placing significantly greater demands on ports and terminals than ever witnessed before, and they are having far reaching consequences by driving up operating costs and capital expenditure requirements. The dynamics of these factors are illustrated in Figure 1.
Going clockwise from the top left of the graphic: bigger ships are leading to more segmentation of terminal capacity, and more rapid terminal capacity obsolescence. They are also increasing the pressure for faster port handling which in turn has implications in terms of what is needed from dockworkers. This also raises the question of the role of terminal automation. Bigger ships also mean lower frequency services and greater throughput peaks for ports and terminals to deal with.
At the same time, bigger alliances mean that the ‘customer’ is bigger and more complex, and there is demand for fewer, larger terminals in each port, leading to pressure to consolidate terminals. Plus, the formation of alliances and the introduction of bigger ships leads to network and port of call changes, as well as terminal customer shuffles and shake ups in each port.
To read the full article download PDF