Chinese ports benefit from robust exports
Major container ports in China saw 7% growth in volumes in the first nine months of 2017, outperforming global volume expansion rates, according to Drewry Maritime Financial Research.
The analyst said global box volumes had continued to expand in 3Q17 and projected growth of 5.5% year-on-year in 2017, before tapering to 3.5% in 2018.
Chinese ports are, however, seeing faster traffic growth than most. “Major ports in China tallied 135.6m TEU in the first nine months of the year, representing 7% growth over the same period last year,” said Drewry.
“Chinese port volumes advanced on strong exports, with Pearl River Delta and Yangtze River Delta benefitting from firm external demand.”
Against the backdrop of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, Drewry said state-owned terminal operators were keen to further expand their portfolios overseas. “China Merchants Port Holdings, Cosco Shipping Ports and Shanghai International Port Group have made acquisitions this year,” said the note, which added that Qingdao Port International was also eyeing the joint development of Khalifa Port Container Terminal 2 in Abu Dhabi in partnership with Cosco.
The global port sector M&A space is buoyed by strong Chinese interest, even if port assets are not on the Maritime Silk Road, added the note.
Chinese domestic ports are also in a consolidation phase, with the Bohai Rim region the most active area followed by Pearl River Delta. “Merging Dalian terminals might boost handling tariffs by removing excessive competition for cargoes,” added Drewry.
To the same tune, ports at Tianjin have also undergone one round of consolidation in late December 2016.
1 November 2017