The global container port sector remains “dynamic” and “profitable,” despite numerous changes currently taking place, according to Drewry Maritime Research’s latest report, “Annual Review of Global Container Terminal Operators.”
The study showed that the two main challenges facing container terminal operators include growth in container demand and growth in ship sizes. Global container port demand is forecast to exceed 800 million 20-foot-equivalent units annually by 2017, representing a more than 5 percent increase, or 186 million TEUs, per annum. Meanwhile, the largest container ship in the world fleet has quadrupled in size since 1992, and in the Asia-Europe trade lane it has doubled in the last 10 years, which, in turn, has triggered the formation of larger operation alliances, notably the P3 Network.
“Container terminal operators remain successful and highly active, but there are many changes coming,” said Neil Davidson, Drewry’s senior analyst of ports and terminals, in a written statement.
Davidson said changes in ownership, caused by cash-strapped shipping lines selling more stakes in their terminals; changes in operations and infrastructure, caused by larger container ships needing more accommodations; and changes in demand, as modest growth will still generate large volume increases, are on the horizon.