Port of Singapore records container volume growth

Port of Singapore records container volume growth

Port of Singapore’s container traffic rose 4.4 percent in the first half of 2014.

The port of Singapore grew its container throughput 4.1 percent in June, compared to the same month last year, handling 2.84 million 20-foot containers, according to preliminary figures from the city-state port authority.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore reported that container volume increased 4.4 percent to 16.51 million TEUs in the first half of the year, although throughput has slowed and is down 100,000 TEUs from the May figure, almost 4.0 percent. 

Shanghai, the world’s busiest container port, recorded an 11.0 percent improvement on June last year, handling more than 3 million TEUs during the month. That takes its year-to-date total to 17.24 million 20-foot containers, up 6.0 percent on the same period in 2013.

China’s second busiest port of Shenzhen reported 1.98 million TEUs handled in June, up 3.0 percent, with a throughput of 10.93 million containers in the first half.

Hong Kong also posted a positive result in June, with 1.93 million TEUs crossing its wharves at Kwai Chung, midstream and in river trade operations. It was a 5.6 percent improvement on June last year and the fifth consecutive month of growth at the port. Last year, after a marginally good January, the growth declined until August before clawing its way back. In the first half, Hong Kong handled 11.11 million 20-foot containers, a growth of 3.5 percent. 

But the city’s cramped Kwai Chung container terminals are struggling to cope with the growing size of container ships. Although 60 percent of Kwai Chung’s berths can handle 13,000-TEU vessels and larger, those bigger ships are pressuring operations. Kwai Chung opened in 1972, and shorter berth lengths mean only 15 of the 24 berths can accommodate ships carrying more than 12,000 TEUs.

Jessie Chung, chairman of the Hong Kong Container Terminal Operators Association, said this could be addressed by investing in upgraded infrastructure and equipment to enable more berths to handle the vessels.

Contact Greg Knowler at gknowler@joc.com and follow him on Twitter: @greg_knowler.