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TRANSPORTCEO - 14/03/2018
The port of Singapore was the leader in connection growth in the last quarter of 2017.
Transhipment hubs were the most significant winners and losers in terms of liner connectivity in 4Q17, according to Drewry’s new global container port connectivity index.
The latest edition of Drewry’s quarterly port sector report Ports & Terminals Insight analyses the winners and losers in its index of liner connectivity at the world’s container ports. Table 1 shows the ports that saw the biggest increase in the number of direct service connections in 4Q17 vs the previous quarter. Of the 19 ports in the list, eight of them are major transhipment hubs – places with high levels of connectivity, but also a degree of volatility as individual operational decisions by carriers about liner networks can have a big effect. The bedding down of the mega-alliances together with the impact of consolidation and M&A in the liner industry are clearly still rippling through the world’s hub ports.
Table 1: Ports with largest increase in mainline services per week, 4Q17 vs 3Q17.
Global transhipment hub Singapore topped the list of winners, with nine additional service connections in 4Q17. Note though that this is not necessarily nine separate liner services. Just one new liner service string can create multiple additional connectivity if it calls at more than one world region (see methodology summary below). Also, in the case of Singapore, these additional service connections, while significant in absolute terms, represented an increase of just 6% due to the sheer number of weekly connections the port has.
In second place, major West Med hub Algeciras saw an increase of eight service connections per week as two new calls were added in 4Q17. The port was included in the rotation of the CMA CGM/Hapag-Lloyd NEMO/EAX service which links Europe with Australia, this being a service that also makes calls at ports in North Africa, the Indian Ocean and India. In addition, the Maersk Line FEW7 service commenced calls at Algeciras, with the line having changed the routing of its Asia-West Africa loops from the Cape of Good Hope to the Suez Canal, adding the Algeciras port call as a result. Like the CMA CGM/Hapag-Lloyd loop, this is also a multi-trade service, with wayport calls in locations including the Middle East. As a consequence, the gaining of these two services generated an increase in Algeciras’ weekly service connections from 39 to 47.
The remaining three ports in the top five list of largest increases were major Chinese gateway ports with substantial numbers of services per week, and so the absolute increases are relatively small as a proportion of the total. In sixth and seventh places, two more transhipment hubs can be found – Balboa and Colombo.
Of the other ports in Table 1, the Jordanian gateway port of Aqaba in Jordan saw an increase of five weekly service connections, covering Africa, Europe and Asia. This was due to the gaining of two services – MSC’s Petra Express (a new service started in December and covering Asia-Middle East and Red Sea region) and the CMA CGM/Cosco/APL IndiaMed/IPM/GEM2 service (added Aqaba port call in December and covering South Asia/Middle East-Med region). West African gateway Cotonou also saw an increase of five service connections, mainly covering Europe and the Middle East/South Asia, with calls being added from MSC’s Angola Express and the Maersk Line FEW7. These were big increases for ports with a relatively modest number of service connections.
Table 2 provides the ports that saw the largest decrease in the number of service connections in 4Q17. Only two ports saw a decrease of three or more service connections per week, both of them are transhipment hubs - Colon (Manzanillio) and Khor Fakkan. Colon’s loss was a reduction in service connections to Europe and North America (the Hapag-Lloyd/Hamburg-Sud MPS/MCPS service dropped the Colon port call) while the main reason for Khor Fakkan’s decline was a reduction in the number of weekly service connections with Africa. Here, two services were lost – the CMA CGM/Cosco/APL IndiaMed/IPM/GEM2 dropped the port call in 4Q17 and the CMA CGM/Emirates Noura/GMX service (suspended in December 2017). During 2017, Khor Fakkan has seen its transhipment business hit hard by the Hapag-Lloyd – UASC merger, which saw the latter’s activity consolidated at Jebel Ali.
Table 2: Ports with largest decrease in mainline services per week, 4Q17 vs 3Q17.
The result of these various service connection changes in terms of Drewry’s port connectivity index figures for the top 20 ports globally is shown in Table 3, based on 4Q17 liner service data. Shanghai remains the port with the highest (maximum) index figure, being directly connected by services to all six world regions, and having the highest number of mainline service connections per week (172 in total, up from 168 in 3Q17). In fact, the top eight ports are unchanged versus the previous quarter. However, Shekou has moved up to ninth place from 12th, by virtue of having gained seven additional direct service connections (covering Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East/South Asia). Elsewhere, Colombo has moved up five places to 13th and both Jebel Ali and Algeciras enter the top 20 list this quarter. All three are major transhipment hubs.
Table 3: Global container port connectivity index, 4Q17 (Top 20 ports).
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