LONDON : The solid increase in container volume being reported by the world’s carriers in the first half of 2017 was mirrored by global port throughput that is on track for its strongest year since 2011.
Container throughput at 250 ports around the world grew by an estimated 6.7 percent in the first half, according to a survey by Alphaliner.
The port strength follows increasing year-on-year container volume transported by carriers in the first half. Hong Kong-listed OOCL volume was up almost 7 percent while Maersk Line carried 2 percent more volume in the first half.
Container Trades Statistics data revealed that Asia-Europe volume for the first six months grew by 2.7 percent to 4 million TEU, although some individual routes on the trade showed far stronger growth. China to the East Mediterranean/Black Sea, for instance, was up 12.6 percent.
On the trans-Pacific, US imports in August could reach record levels. Global Port Tracker, which is published monthly by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates, forecasts that August will be the busiest month ever, with imports predicted to rise 2.1 percent from August 2016.
The strength of the container shipping market was reflected in the world’s 20 largest container ports, where only two ports - both in Malaysia - recorded negative growth in the first half.
Leading the Alphaliner table was the world’s busiest container port, Shanghai, that saw throughput in the first six months of 2017 shoot up 10 percent to 19.6 million TEU. Singapore was up 6.4 percent to 16.1 million TEU.
The 250 ports in Alphaliner’s survey have a combined annual throughput of more than 550 million TEU. Total volume growth powered ahead in the second quarter to reach 7.4 percent, ahead of the 5.9 percent recorded in the first quarter of this year.
Positive growth was recorded across all regions in the first six months of the year, led by South Asia Ports that recorded the strongest growth rate of 9.3 percent, while the Middle East region lagged behind the rest of the world, growing by only 3.1 percent. Among the main regions, China and the US Ports posted the highest first-half growth rates of 8.4 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively.
Among the top 30 ports, notable gainers in the first half include Ningbo (14.4 percent), Guangzhou (11.7 percent), Hong Kong (10.5 percent), Shanghai (9.6 percent), Rotterdam (9.3 percent), and Laem Chabang (8.2 percent). Alphaliner said the port growth momentum was expected to continue in the second half, with the latest figures for July also showing very strong figures.