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Container terminal utilisation rates to rise and “big seven” premier league of operators emerges

The outlook for global container port demand is modest growth and numerous uncertainties, but in the face of this, capacity expansion plans are also muted.

This means that most world regions will see an increase in average terminal utilisation, according to the Global Container Terminal Operators Annual Review and Forecast 2019 by global shipping consultancy Drewry.

Drewry’s container port demand forecast for the next five years is for global growth of 4.4% per annum on average, lifting world container port throughput from 784 million teu in 2018 to 973 million teu by 2023, an absolute increase of almost 190 million teu. The latest five-year forecast is a far cry from the heady days of the 2000s when forecasts were around 9% growth per annum until the global financial crisis of 2007-08 brought this to a shuddering halt.

The detailed modelling results in varying forecast growth rates at the regional level (see figure below). Several locations are expected to outperform markedly the global average, most notably Middle East/South Asia and Southeast Asia/Far East.

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