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June 22 2020

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30 The Journal of Commerce | June 22 2020 www.joc.com Port Productivity: 2019 Rankings and Analysis Special Report THE AVERAGE CAPACITY of container ships calling ports around the world, and the average amount of cargo exchanged per call, continued to grow in almost all regions in 2019, increasing pressure on global con- tainer terminal and port efficiency. With the exception of Latin America, average ship size increased between 2 percent and 5 percent in all world regions in 2019 compared with 2018, according to IHS Markit port productivity data provided by the world's largest ocean carriers. Capacity of ships calling at North American ports expanded 2 percent year over year, while ports in South- east Asia saw the largest increase in average ship capacity at 5 percent. Continuing the trend from pre- vious years, average call size — the number of boxes exchanged per port visit — expanded at a significantly higher rate than average ship capac- ity in 2019. "This can increase pressure on terminals [that] cannot always be mitigated through deployment of additional cranes," said Andy Lane of CTI Consultancy. Mediterranean ports registered a dramatic 13 percent increase in aver- age call sizes during the year, while call sizes in Northern Europe were up by nearly 10 percent. Call size growth outstripped growth in the number of cranes deployed to handle calls, resulting in each deployed crane needing to make more moves, which can prolong port stay times. The biggest gap in this respect was in North America, where a 7.4 percent jump in average call size was accompanied by a crane intensity growth rate of just 1.9 percent. The larger call sizes and resulting higher number of moves per crane per port call resulted in an overall negative trend of ships spending more time in port. Looking at trends in port hours within specified call size bands — i.e., for similar work- loads — a slight negative trend of 0.3 hours (1.2 percent) increase in hours per port call was observed in 2019 compared with 2018. Significant opportunity Although the average number of moves per crane per ship increased in Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Northern Europe, the improvement was not enough to offset the increase in the number of moves per crane per ship. The global average gross crane pro- ductivity benchmark stood at 25.6 moves per hour in 2019, a 1.1 percent uptick from the year before. When comparing these num- bers to design maximums of around 40 moves per hour and to actual performance at the highest-per- forming terminals of over 35 moves per hour, it's clear that there remains a significant opportunity to further improve efficiency. Room for improvement 1.4% 1.2% -3.8% 1.2% 2.7% -0.03% 1.9% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 NE Asia SE Asia Latam Mid- East Med N Europe N Amer ica 2019 2018 Port call times increase as vessel sizes rise Source: IHS Markit © 2020 IHS Markit Average number of hours spent in port by region, 2018 vs. 2018, with year-over-year change Rising vessel, call sizes puts pressure on port productivity By Turloch Mooney

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