Shipping lines are the centre of attention because the market is very dynamic, due to consolidation in the industry and vessels getting larger in terms of size and fleet. The container terminal industry is dynamic in almost the same way, but not as transparent, writes Daniel Schäfer
The major container terminal operators usually reinvest 20 to 30% of their revenues to have infrastructure in place where and when it is needed. But they maintain a cautious investment behaviour and cut if needed.
For instance, in 2010, overall investment spending was halved in value by major operators, resulting from the 8% decline of container throughput in 2009. Equipment manufacturers also got hit full force the same year and low investments for machinery continued until 2010.
As for today, capital expenditures picked up to 21 to 22% of revenues in 2012/13, which is seven percentage points below the pre-crisis figure.
So what does the future hold?
A project pipeline of 25 to 75m teu additional container terminal capacity each year on a global level until 2020.
Some projects will get delayed, some projects will be prestige related, some projects will be probably executed based on political decision-making, rather than economic feasibility. But overall, flags for new container terminals are hammered in places, where demand is existing, anticipated or thought to be created.
Port Strategy will feature an article about future container terminal projects in the October issue, based on these findings.