China’s container ports now handle 30 percent of international container volume, which has more than doubled in the last decade, Drewry Maritime Research said in its latest annual port sector report.
Global container port throughput jumped to 558.8 million 20-foot-equivalent units last year from 279.3 million TEUs in 2002, Drewry said in the 10th edition of its Global Container Terminals Annual Review & Forecast. Chinese ports’ share rose from 19 percent in 2002.
Global and international terminal operators’ share of total throughput rose to 76 percent from 58 percent. Adjusted for equity shares, however, global operators’ share is less than 45 percent.
The report said the 6 percent forecast increase in global container volume will vary by region, with Europe flat, North America showing slight growth and emerging nations showing the strongest gains.
Drewry warned that although there’s little port congestion today, growth in demand is expected to outstrip growth in port capacity, and that this could create problems in some regions, especially Asia.
“In this year’s report, we are forecasting that global container port throughput will exceed 800 million TEUs by 2017,” said Neil Davidson, Drewry senior adviser and editor of the report. “On this basis, within 10 years from now, the industry will easily be in excess of 1 billion TEUs per annum — and this based only on single-digit growth each year.
“It’s also quite possible that ships in excess of 20,000 TEUs will be in service on the main east-west routes. Regardless of the current economic uncertainties, therefore the industry is facing a huge challenge in terms of growth — on more than one front,” Davidson said.