Box port throughput shows signs of stabilising


Contenedor, Carguero, Parte Posterior


Container ports are showing signs that the worst impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are retreating, with the latest bi-weekly Port Economic Impact Barometer showing a progressive improvement in three of the four survey questions asked of the world’s ports.

“With generalised lockdowns now limited, the return of vessels and the lower numbers of blank sailings continue, although at a slow pace,” the report said. “For the first time since starting the measurements, the percentage of ports reporting that the number of containership calls corresponds to a normal situation has exceeded the 50% threshold.”

Some ports that had experienced a decline in the number of container ships calls reported further improvement emerging, with several certain that they will soon return to similar numbers of ship calls as in the corresponding period last year.

Hamburgo, Terminal De Grúa, Buque

“At the same time, maritime trade volumes have also started to increase, as several economies, or major parts of them, have returned to operations and increased number of transactions,” said the report – which is produced by the International Association of Ports and Harbors in conjunction with the World Ports Sustainability Project.

The findings reflect recent statements from some individual European container ports. Europe’s largest, Rotterdam, reported a 7% decline in volumes in the first six months of 2020, after losing 20% of its scheduled services in May and June. But the fall in volumes was less pronounced that the decline in the number of vessel calls, because of the increased size of ships calling.

Antwerp even managed to increase volumes during the first half of the year. “Container traffic increased in the first quarter but from April felt the effects of cancelled sailings,” the port said.

Buque, Contenedor, Elba, Marinero

“Nevertheless, container throughput recorded a slight increase of 0.4% in the period January-June 2020 compared to the same period last year.”

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