The reduction in container trade due to recession means that container terminals have capacity to spare for the first time in many years. However, average ship sizes continue to increase, driven by deliveries of large vessels ordered in huge numbers before the recession, and reinforced by layoffs and scrapping of older, smaller vessels. Handling these larger vessels remains a challenge for some ports.
Recovery is expected to be gradual, rather than surging. Long-term containerport forecasts are consequently lower than previously anticipated. This has implications for the required pace of containerport investment. Nevertheless, investment, in particular to provide access and berthage for larger vessels, will continue to be needed.
These issues are examined in depth in this new study from Ocean Shipping Consultants Ltd, which provides forecasts of import/export, transshipment and transit demand. Ongoing and planned investment projects are reviewed in detail. Containerport demand, capacity and supply/demand balances are forecast to 2020. Forecast ship sizes in the main European trades, and the potential impact on European trades of the expansion of the Panama Canal to take 12,500 TEU vessels are analysed too.