Robust volume growth across China, backed by other strong regional performances, beefed up global throughput figures in 2018. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the elite box facilities.
Volumes among the top 100 ports rose by an average of 4.8% last year, softening slightly on the previous year's 6% growth figure.
BOX volumes at the world’s top 100 container ports reached 616.7m teu in 2018, representing an increase of 4.8% year on year.
Off the back of 6% growth in 2017, the uptick last year — while softening slightly — marked a period of much-needed stability for the container port sector, following several years of only moderate rises.
Last year’s return to form coincided with the comeback of strong growth in China, a country whose performance is linked intrinsically to the wider market.
If China wallows, the reverberations are felt globally. So it was most welcome that the trend of strong numbers out of China continued into 2018 to provide the foundations for another fruitful 12 months.
Away from China, growth across world regions was typically fragmented.
Strong performances came from the developing markets, as expected, with Southeast Asian as well as Central and South American ports faring especially well, which contributed handsomely to the overall growth total.
Volume growth in the Mediterranean was equally robust as demand for transhipment grew, while the end-of-year rush to beat tariffs on Chinese imports in the US ensured a healthy North American showing.
Indeed, the only regions not to report mid- to high-single-digit percentage growth were the Middle East and Northern Europe.