London 21.04.2016 – Despite carrier pleas that port productivity levels need to improve in order to efficiently handle ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs), it would appear that berth productivity levels at the world’s largest ports are actually falling. According to new analysis presented this week at the TOC Container Supply Chain Asia conference by Andy Lane, Partner at CTI Consultancy, berth productivity at some 20 of the largest ports in Asia and Europe is in decline.
Using data gleaned from the Journal of Commerce’s berth productivity survey, and comparing performance in the first half of 2014 to the first half of 2015, Mr Lane said that terminal productivity relative to average vessel call size showed productivity levels dropping. Mr Lane took 20 major ports – five Asia gateways, five Asian hubs, five European gateways and five European hubs – for his analysis.
“As call size is a major determinant of crane Intensity, then we might expect berth productivity to fall if the average call size decreases. What we observe however for these 20 major ports is that berth productivity has fallen by further than call size. So whichever way you chose to measure it productivity is in decline,” he told delegates.
In the five European hubs, average call size had reduced by 19% while productivity had slipped by 22%. In the five European gateway ports, average call size had fallen 8% while productivity had dropped 11%. In the five Asian hubs, average call size had decreased by 4% while productivity had declined 11%; and in the five Asian gateway ports, average call size had gone down 18% while productivity had declined by 27%.
The data included 45,722 calls across the 20 ports and involved over 51m container moves. Overall, Mr Lane found that average vessel call size had reduced by 12.5% in the first half of 2015 compared with the same period the year before.
He speculated that this could either be due to the new alliances having more direct port-pairs and thus more ports per service, or it could have been potentially due to lower utilisation levels. “Maybe we should not claim that increasing call size has been a major challenge,” he added.
Instead, while 7% of total calls at the 20 ports involved exchanges of 3,000 moves in the first half of 2014, by the corresponding period in 2015 this had dropped to just 6% of calls. And, out of total moves in the entire period, 23% were in “batches” of over 3,000 in the first half of 2014 – a figure than remained the same in 2015. This led Mr Lane to conclude that despite port operator claims that congestion was the result of influxes of large numbers of containers in single calls, “the era of the mega call has not yet arrived”.
About TOC Worldwide
For 40 years, TOC Worldwide has provided the market-leading conference and exhibition forums for the global port and terminal industries and their customers. With a change of name to TOC Container Supply Chain, the TOC event portfolio now attracts a wider audience of container supply chain professionals.
Taking place each year in the world’s four key shipping hubs – Europe, Middle East, Americas and Asia – each TOC is now a complete container supply chain event for its region, bringing together cargo owners, logistics providers, carriers, ports, terminals and other key members of the container supply chain to learn, debate, network and foster new business solutions.