JOC’s latest Port Productivity database, which contains loading and unloading speeds for over 483 ports and 771 terminals, reveals that the top 25 operators in each region around the globe all increased productivity in 2013.
In a webinar marking the launch of the database, Andrew Penfold, project director, Ocean Shipping Consultants (OSC) said that at the heart of the matter driving productivity forward is the ship size revolution and rapid consignment increase.
Mr Penfold said: “Despite the self-conflicted wounds of over capacity we are convinced that there will be further orders for new vessels. Very large ships will be forced on to north south trades.”
He added that consignment size will therefore be the main consideration moving forward for both shipping lines and port partners.
“Terminals must expand and make better use of existing space to service larger vessels – we’re only getting some of the way along this line. Terminals that don’t increase productivity will be exposed.”
The JOC database looks at specific data from individual terminals based on average moves per hour. It contains information from 150,000 calls during 2013 supplied by 17 carriers. To qualify to make the database ports had to have had at least 100 calls during the year.
JOC’s database demonstrates that there were improvements across the board. But in terms of productivity, Korfakkan in the middle-east achieved 179 moves per hour – the highest productivity in 2013.
The Asia pacific region continues to be more productive than Europe and the Americas, with 100 to 130 moves on average. For example, Qingdao achieved 130 moves per hour in 2013 as opposed to 66 moves in 2012.
Mr Penfold told Port Strategy: “The key reason Asia has done so well for so long is that a new container terminal in Asia does not inherit all of the soft and hard constraints on optimising their facilities. They are starting with a clean sheet of paper and labour is also cheaper. They just have a better starting position.”
But he pointed out that there are ports in the middle-east that are almost on par now with the Asian terminals so this state-of-play may well change in future.
The middle-east is definitely making its mark on the database. Aside from the achievements of Korfakkan, Abu Dhabi made a new appearance on the database for 2013 and Jebel Ali achieved around 120 moves up from 80 moves per hour in 2012.
When quizzed about the reasons for increased productivity across the board, Mr Penfold said that it was driven by demand in part and increases in volumes over 2012 to 2013 which has increased the pressure on the terminals to raise their game.
“There is a competitive reaction brewing between the different terminals reflected in increased productivity. Some of the slack in certain terminals has certainly been taken up.”
It was historically confrontational between operators and shippers he said, but it is now a question of aligning the different interest groups to increase productivity going forward – and that is still a work in progress.