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The epidemic restrains investment in container ports, and capacity growth will shrink by 40% in the next 5 years

The latest "Annual Review and Forecast Report of Global Container Terminal Operators" released by Drewry shows that the new crown pneumonia epidemic has led to a sluggish port throughput performance, and the expansion of container port capacity will shrink by at least 40% in the next five years.

The data shows that the average annual growth rate of the design throughput of global container ports in the next 5 years is expected to be 2.1%, which is equivalent to 25 million TEUs added each year, while the global average annual growth rate has exceeded 40 million TEUs in the past ten years.

Estimated 2019-2024 container handling volume and average annual growth rate in various regions (unit: million TEU)

It is expected that during this period, the port throughput will grow at an average annual rate of 3.5%, from 801 million TEUs in 2019 to 951 million TEUs in 2024. However, if the epidemic repeats during the forecast period and causes the economy to stagnate on a large scale, this forecast outlook is at risk.

Eleanor Hadland, senior analyst at Drewry Ports and Terminals, said: "Considering the epidemic, our five-year forecast for global container port loading and unloading has been significantly lowered, and the risk largely depends on the downward trend."

Major terminal operators and port authorities are actively studying the delivery of planned projects. Hadland pointed out: “Due to the impact of the epidemic on the global supply chain in the first half of the year, large-scale port expansion projects and construction projects that are already under construction and will be put into use in 2020 and 2021 may face delays. However, for projects currently in the preliminary planning stage. , Especially for projects for which construction contracts and equipment have not yet been tendered, the possibility of suspension or cancellation is greater."

In recent years, global terminal operators have shrunk their investment plans, with very limited creation projects in the pipeline. But the world's leading operators will continue to maintain their leading position in terminal automation. Currently, more than three-quarters of automated terminals are operated by international terminal operators, and over 80% of the 22 planned automated terminal projects belong to international terminal operators.

In 2019, the performance of the world's top 21 international terminal operators exceeded the market average. Global port throughput increased by 2.1%, while the integrated business volume of these leading companies increased by 4.3%.

PSA still maintains the first place in the ranking of Drewry. Both COSCO SHIPPING Ports and APM performed well, rising to second and third positions respectively.