In its Global Port Development Report (2017) the Institute noted container traffic “constantly picked up under the impact of the recovering global economy and trade environment” in 2017, and despite the threat of a trade war with the US it forecasts growth will continue in 2018.
“It is estimated that, boosted by the active international commodity trade and consumption market, the container throughput of global ports will maintain a strong growing momentum in 2018. In particular, with adjustment in business modes such as cross-border e-commerce and cross-border online shopping, and with transformation in transport modes such as “bulk-to-containerized cargo”, the container throughput growth at global ports will still be better than the cargo throughput”.
The Institute also noted, as other commentators have that transhipment is expected to decline: “more cargo will go through direct routes to ensure timeliness and efficiency of transportation, so the number of transshipped containers at ports will keep decreasing, and the proportion of empty containers will increase.
China’s ports again showed the strongest growth, particularly its “ports above a designated scale” which saw throughput increase 9.%. Shanghai was up 8.2% to just over 40M TEU, while Ningbo-Zhoushan Port and Guangzhou Port grew 14.2% and 8.2%, respectively.
Ports in South East Asia did not fare so well, registering a throughput increase of 3%, with Singapore the notable exception with an 8.2% increase. European ports were up 5%, while US ports grew 7.4% and African ports 5.6%.