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October 28 2019

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28 The Journal of Commerce | October 28 2019 Port Productivity Special Report THE AMOUNT OF time container ships spend at port continued to rise in the first half of 2019, despite relative gains in terminal efficiency, according to an analysis of The Journal of Commerce's port productivity data. Provided by 7 of the 10 largest global container ship operators, the data set comprises close to 200,000 port calls per year, through which more than 350 million TEU of container terminal moves are made across an array of 455 ports. At the 63 busiest ports in the world — accounting for 62 percent of all calls and 73 percent of all container terminal moves within the data set — vessels with a capacity of 5,000 TEU or greater spent an average of 26 hours at port per call during the first six months of the year. Average ship size (measured as nominal TEU of capacity per call) at these 63 ports increased 3.4 percent compared with the same period of 2018, with a corresponding year-over-year increase in call size (moves per port call) of 7.2 percent. The faster growing call size was achieved through greater utilization (load factors) and alliance network rationalization, and with the vast majority of the newbuilding order- book being ships with a capacity higher than the existing average, these trends should be expected to continue in the coming years. Because 81.5 percent of a ves- sel's time in port is spent handling containers, call size is a key deter- minant of the total time required in port. Port productivity data has been segmented into groups covering 1 to 1,000 moves per call, 1,001 to 2,500 moves, and greater than 2,500 moves. For calls with up to 1,000 moves, total port time fell by a modest 0.1 percent, while the average call size in this group increased 0.4 percent, for a relative (weighted by call size) time savings of 0.5 percent. On a regional level, the main North European ports have been able to reduce port times 4.4 percent against a call size growth of 0.8 percent for a relative efficiency improvement of 5.1 percent, which can be seen as evidence that improvements are indeed possible. The main ports in Latin America recorded a relative improvement of 4.4 percent (actual improvement 3.8 percent), but the main ports in the Mediterranean saw call size drop 6.1 percent and port time increase 2.2 percent for an overall efficiency loss of 8.8 percent. Within the 1,001-to-2,500 moves segment, actual port time increased by 0.7 percent year over year against a call size increase of 1.7 percent, for a relative efficiency gain of 1 percent. North Europe again led the field with a relative port time reduction of 7 percent, followed by Middle East and India at 4 percent. For the large call size cluster — more than 2,500 moves per call — actual port time increased 0.1 percent, with call size going up 1.2 percent, for a relative improve- ment of 1.1 percent. The Middle East and India achieved an overall relative port time reduction of 8.1 percent, with North Europe recording a 7.4 percent improvement. At the other end of the scale was North America, where call size fell 8.7 per- cent but an additional 0.2 percent of port time was incurred. A large portion of terminal operating time is driven by two factors: the number of cranes deployed (crane intensity) and the gross number of containers handled per crane. For the latter, a 0.6 percent gain was recorded in Losing battle Container port stays rising despite terminal productivity gains By Andy Lane

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