A slow start to 2013 at Guangzhou, China's fourth-largest container port in 2012, is shaking up China's top 10 ports this year.
Guangzhou, which, like Hong Kong and Shenzhen, is located in the Pearl River Delta of southern China, was the only port to see a year-over-year decline in May volumes, with monthly throughput declining 1.7 percent year-over-year to 1.3 million 20-foot equivalent units, according to data from the Shanghai Shipping Exchange. Guangzhou's volume has declined in three of the first five months of 2013, with volume slipping 2.3 percent in May from April.
The declines, coupled with rapid year-over-year increases at Qingdao have pushed the northern China port, China's fifth-largest in 2012, ahead of Guangzhou in year-to-date rankings. Qingdao handled 6.66 million TEUs in the first five months of the year, up 11.8 percent over the comparable period of 2012, to rise to fourth in year-to-date rankings. Guangzhou's year-to-date volumes of 5.86 million TEUs were up a scant 0.1 percent year-over-year.
Lower in the Top 10, Dalian has overtaken Xiamen as China’s No. 7 container port this year. Dalian, previously ranked eighth among China's container ports, has seen significant growth this year, with volumes increasing by more than 26 percent in four of the past five months. In May, volume jumped 26.1 percent year-over-year, totaling 841,000 TEUs. Dalian's containerized cargo volume in the first five months of 2013 totaled 3.64 million TEUs, up 24.4 percent from the same period in 2012 and the highest growth of the top 10 ports.
Although Xiamen grown consistently in 2013, it hasn't matched Dalian's rapid rise. Xiamen's container traffic jumped 16.4 percent to 668,000 TEUs in May, pushing year-to-date volumes to 3.09 million TEUs. Xiamen dropped to No. 8 in China's top 10 rankings.
The ninth- and 10-ranked Chinese ports have flipflopped this year, as well. Lianyungang, previously ranked ninth, has seen smaller year-over-year growth compared to 2012's 10th-ranked Suzhou, and has subsequently slipped to the No. 10 spot in 2013. Lianyungang's container volume increased 10.5 percent in the first five months of 2013, with throughput totaling 2.25 million TEUs, while Suzhou volume grew 17.6 percent year-over-year in the January-May period to 2.36 million TEUs.
The ports of Shanghai, Shenzhen and Ningpo-Zhoushan, China's top three ports, respectively, in TEU throughput in 2012, held onto their rankings through May. Shanghai's volume increased 3.4 percent year-over-year in Ma, to 2.94 million TEUs, and grew 4 percent from April 2013. Shanghai's volume is up 3.6 percent year-over-year in the January-May period, with volume totaling 13.57 million TEUs. Volumes at Shenzhen and Ningpo-Zhoushan inched up in May 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively, reaching throughput of 1.96 million and 1.49 million TEUs. Shenzhen cargo rose 2 percent year-over-year through May to 9.1 million TEUs and Ningpo-Zhoushan volume increased 5.7 percent year-over-year in the January-May period, totaling 7 million TEUs.