Downward throughput trend returns for Hong Kong Port

After a good start to 2018, the Port of Hong Kong has now chalked up throughput declines for two months in a row. In March the territory handled 1.6m teu, a 7.4% fall compared to the throughput of 1.7m teu in March 2017.

The returning malaise was most sharply felt at the main Kwai Tsing terminals where throughput dropped 9.9% to 1.25m teu in March from 1.39m teu in 2017. This fall was only partially mitigated by a 3% increase in midstream traffic hitting 350,000 teu compared to 340,000 teu in March last year.

From a first quarter perspective, however, the situation is less severe with throughput down 0.6% at 4.85m teu.

The number of containers handled is not the only problem felt by Hong Kong’s box facilities. A revision in tariffs, following the merger of some liners and the rise in a new generation of alliances, has been exerting downward pressure on the terminals’ handling charges. Earlier this week HPH Trust reported a fall in net profit of 13% for full year 2017.

By stark contrast Hong Kong-listed Cosco Shipping Ports saw overall volumes increase 15% across its portfolio to 22.7m teu including a March increase in throughput of 10% to 7.9m teu.

Ports within China’s Bohai Rim saw boxes handled increase 23% to 1.6m teu from 1.3m teu in March 2017. The star performer was Dalian Container Terminal with a more than 50% increase to 806,300 teu. CSPs’ facility at Tianjin Port, Euroasia International Container Terminal, handled 228,100 teu for a 15% increase.

Not all CSP ports witnessed positive growth. Facilities at both the Yangtze River and Pearl Rive Delta regions both recorded falls in throughput – 8% to 1.6m teu and 5% to 2m teu respectively.

CSP ports on the Southeast and Southwest coasts shared contrasting fortunes. The Southeast coast facility racked up an impressive 499,300 teu handled, up 26% on the March 2017 figure. By contrast Guangxi Qinzhou saw numbers fall 2% to 109,600 teu.

CSP’s overseas terminals now form the largest single segment of CSP’s overall suite of marine facilities following a 36% increase in volumes handled for a grand March total of 2.1m teu.

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