Volumes through the top eight ports expanded 8.6% year-over-year (y/y) with three of the top four ports – Shanghai, Ningbo-Zhoushan and Guangzhou - booking double-digit growth over the period, MANA correspondent reported.
Figures from the Shanghai Shipping Exchange show the largest eight ports have so far handled a combined 37.7 million teu this year, a rise of 6.3% compared to the first quarter of 2016.
The solid numbers come as other China government data indicates an improved trade and general economic environment in the first quarter.
The National Bureau of Statistics said that first quarter GDP growth reached 6.9%, the fastest rate of growth since the third quarter of 2015; while March trade figures beat the expectations of analysts with exports up 16.4% and imports up 20.3% in dollar terms.
China’s first quarter exports and imports are up 8.2% and 24% compared to the first quarter of last year.
The port of Shanghai, which is currently suffering from congestion, led the way in March container growth as volumes grew 14.2% to 3.4 million teu.
Adverse weather in northern China, service and terminal changes following the alliance reshuffle on April 1, as well as large volumes of containers in yards are the source of delays which primarily relate to shipments on the Asia-Europe, Trans-Pacific and Asia-Australia routes.
The congestion could see some volumes transfer to nearby Ningbo-Zhoushan, the country’s third largest port which also had a very strong March as volumes rose by more than 14% to 1.7 million teu.
The Pearl River Delta ports of Guangzhou and Shenzhen saw March volumes grow by 12.8% and 5.8% respectively.
Hong Kong is also performing well this year. Container throughput at the terminals at Kwai Tsing and the river trade portion of throughput combined reached nearly 1.8 million teu in March, more than 17% up on last year and following a rise of 26% in February.
Growth at the northern ports of Tianjin and Qingdao was flat while Dalian grew volumes by nearly 3% to 801,000 teu.
The southeastern port of Xiamen, the closest of the top eight ports to Taiwan, performed strongly as volumes rose 8.2% resulting in its move ahead of Dalian to seventh place in the rankings of mainland ports by throughput volume.