Vessel port stays are on an upward trajectory worldwide – as demand increases and port efficiency declines.
The Freight News article published today headlined “Major US ports battling unprecedented volumes” bears out the statistics.
Using data published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development on port stays, maritime consultancy Sea-Intelligence sheds some light on the current bottleneck issues faced by the container shipping industry.
The consultancy reports that the median time spent by container vessels in port began to grow sharply in the second half of 2020, continuing into the first half of 2021. A quick calculation showed an increase of 11% in the first half of 2021 compared to the pre-pandemic average in 2018-2019. “Comparing this to the global demand data published by Container Trade Statistics (CTS) – which was up 5.5% over the same period – it shows that the efficiency of the port calls themselves declined in 2021,” said Sea-Intelligence CEO Alan Murphy.
Because the container shipping sector relies on efficient land-side operations – which have been severely compromised by the pandemic - the impact on the sector has been far more severe.
Figure 1 shows the development in the median port stay in the USA. It indicates a 20% increase. In terms of European ports, increases were high in Germany and France, whereas the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Belgium saw a change more in line with the global average. Spain has even seen a marginal decline.
“Looking across origin regions, China recorded a 12% increase in the first half of 2021 vs 2018-2019, which is basically in line with the global average increase in the first half of 2021,” said Murphy.