Alliance to spark global transshipment slump?

Throughput at Singapore after the first six months of 2016 was down by 5%, while further north Hong Kong fared even worse with a half-year decline of 10%. The latest results compound miserable figures for the full-year 2015 when Singapore’s volumes fell by nearly 9%, which is the equivalent to 2.9 million TEU, and Hong Kong’s slipped by 10%, or 2.2 million TEU.
Competition for transshipment volume comes from rival transshipment hubs and the replacement of transshipment by direct calls.

The ports’ customers, ocean carriers, are under severe financial pressure to reduce their operational costs and some of their actions have accelerated the shift towards more direct calls at the expense of transshipment. More previously feedered ports are being added to mainline services to save on feeder costs.

The addition of more ports on to weekly loops has extended the round voyages of services, requiring additional ships to maintain the frequency; helping absorb surplus vessel capacity.

The trend towards fewer services using bigger ships with multiple carriers pooling cargo will create winners and losers with successful terminal operators most likely having strong connections to the dominant carriers in the alliances.

(Port Technology)