Major terminal operator Cosco Pacific continues to see recovery in its throughput, with overall volumes rising 3.7% to 7.87m teu in April and gains across all major segments except the troubled Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta regions, where apparently fundamental shifts in the market are causing structural changes to the flow of container trade.
The key Bohai Rim region saw throughput rise a healthy 4.9% to 2.79m teu with Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal, the highest volume port in the whole network, still registering a rise of 3.6% to 1.47m teu.
The much newer and less mature Southeast Coast and overseas terminals as well as the only port in the Southwest Coast, all saw good gains of 5.7%, 32.5% and 13.2% to 364,300 teu, 1.05m teu and 88,100 teu respectively.
However, these are all from relatively low bases and with widely varying performances between individual ports and over different months. For example, in the Southeast Coast region, while second highest moving port Xiamen Ocean Gate Container Terminal saw a 21.7% rise in throughput in April to 90,500 teu, the already smallest port in the area, Jinjiang Pacific Ports fell 18.5% to just 28,200 teu.
Meanwhile among overseas terminals, Piraeus Container Terminal saw an 18.6% rise to 267,100 teu from 225,200 teu while Suez Canal Container Terminal, which had seen higher throughput than the former in the previous corresponding period, fell 14.7% to 208,100 teu from 243,900 teu previously.
The laggards over the past year or so have continued to be the Pearl River Delta and to a lesser extent the Yangtze River Delta. The former has been seeing volumes drop every month and April was no different, with throughput falling 1.2% to 2m teu and year-to-date, volumes are down 1.9% at 7.61m teu. The Hong Kong terminals of Cosco-HIT Terminal and Asia Container Terminal have been leading the falls, sliding 14.3% and 22.4% to 124,500 teu and 81,700 teu respectively in April. These two terminals now form the smallest component among the Pearl River Delta group among Cosco Pacific’s holdings in that region.
Finally, in the third highest moving region, the Yangtze River Delta, throughput fell 6.8% to 1.58m teu. Performance has been uneven here, with the rate of decline slowing to 0.8% in March, but the slowdown has picked up again going into the first month of the second quarter and volumes year-to-date are down 4.1% at 6.15m teu.
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