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In 2018, transportation of cargo by sea amounted to 11 billion tons and was 2.7% higher than in the previous year. However, the dynamics is on the decrease. A year before, the turnover increased by 4.1%, as shown in the report entitled “Review of Maritime Transport 2019” prepared by UNCTAD, that is the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Forecasts show that between 2019 and 2024, maritime transport will be growing at an average rate of 3.5% every year. An increase in the volume of containers, dry bulk and gas will contribute to this.
According to UNCTAD, the slowdown results i.a. from protectionism in international trade, a decision of the Great Britain to leave the European Union, economic transformation in China, geopolitical developments, imbalances on the supply side which have appeared in, for instance, the crude oil industry. On top of that, there is recession in certain developing economies, a slower industry’s growth in many regions, a slowdown in growth in China as well as a lower demand for import, both in developed and developing countries. The authors of the report claim that trade tensions between China and the USA resulted in a decrease in the volume of cargo transported by sea in both directions by 2% in 2018. Moreover, issues such disturbance in the trade and transport of iron ore in Australia and Brazil, problems with transportation of crude oil due to sanctions imposed on the import of it from Iran and Venezuela cannot be forgotten. The report also pinpoints a global economic decline which will continue. In 2018, it constituted 3% of the GDP, whereas in 2017, it was still 3.1%.
However, according to UNCTAD, a positive aspect is the fact that China is implementing the Belt and Road Initiative, a new bilateral and regional trade agreements as well as potential opportunities resulting from the world’s energy transition putting emphasis on a higher consumption of and trading with gas.
A slowdown in turnover has hit mostly the activities of sea ports and container terminals in particular. In 2018, transshipments increased there by 4.7% compared to 6.7% from 2017. All terminals together handled approx. 793.26 million TEU, that is 35.3 million TEU more than a year before. Approx. 64% of the volume, that is approx. 510 million TEU, was handled in Asian ports, European ports handled approx. 126 million TEU, whereas ports in North America as well as South and Central America accounted for 8% and 7% of the volume, respectively.
Shanghai still remains the largest container terminal in the world (42 million TEU), it is followed by Singapore (36.6 million TEU) and the Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan (26.5 million TEU). Top 10 is definitely dominated by Asian ports. The largest European ports, in turn, in this respect are: Rotterdam (14.5 million TEU), (which is also the 11th port in the world) as well as Antwerp (11.1 million, 13th place in the world) and Hamburg (8.8 million TEU, 19th place in the world).
When it comes to the operators of terminals, COSCO is still in the lead, with its turnover amounting to 105 million TEU (a market share of 13.5%) before Hutchison Ports with 82.6 million TEU (a share of 10.5%) and the owner of Gdynia Container Terminal and PSA International, the main shareholder of DCT Gdańsk, with 80.1 million TEU (a share of 10.2%). The largest European operator is APM Terminal, which is in the 4th position, with its turnover amounting to 78.6 million TEU and a 10% share in the market.
World’s container shipping transported 152 million TEU, that is 2.6% more than in 2017. However, just like in the case of terminals, the growth was slower than a year before, when it represented 6% and lower than an average annual rate over the last 20 years (5.8%). The largest number of containers was transported within transpacific services – 28.2 million TEU, whereas 24.4 million TEU was shipped between Asia and Europe, which is 3.9% more than in 2017, including a trail between Far East and Europe, where 17.4 million TEU was transported, which means an increase by 5.5%.
Article developed with Namiary na Morze i Handel magazine
phot. Namiary na Morze i Handel