JN Port needs to handle more containers to stay in top league

Jose Paul | Updated on July 16, 2012

The JN Port must increase capacity to retain its position in the top 30.

To make it to the top 30, J.N. Port needs to increase capacity.

In 2011, an estimated 561.5 million TEUs were handled at world ports out of which the top 30 container ports listed by Containerisation International, London, handled 58 per cent.

Compared with 2010, the growth rate is estimated at 8.4 per cent. Chinese ports continued to post strong performance in 2011 with 10 Chinese ports finding places among the 30 top ports. Six of them posted double-digit rates of growth in their throughputs, which contributed to the Chinese share of the top 30 league rising from 42 per cent in 2007 to 46 per cent in 2011. By 2015, Chinese ports’ share is likely to rise to 50 per cent.

Despite a slowing Chinese economy (9.2 per cent GDP growth in 2011) the port of Shanghai maintained its No. 1 ranking at 31.5 million TEUs registering an increase of 8.3 per cent over 2010. Shanghai increased its lead over the second ranked port of Singapore by 5.3 per cent. While Singapore handled 29.9 million TEUs, Shanghai handled 1.56 million TEUs more.

The performance of Hong Kong was less impressive, but it remained at the third position by handling 24.4 million TEUs with a growth rate of 3 per cent. While the Chinese port of Shenzhen remained at the fourth position by handling 22.5 million TEUs, the South Korean port of Busan registered an impressive growth of 14 per cent by handling 16.1 million TEUs and remained in the fifth slot. The sixth and seventh positions went to the Chinese ports of Ningbo and Guangzhou which handled 14.6 million TEUs and 14.4 million TEUs respectively (according to Containerisation International, London, March).

Asian ports rule

Out of the top 10 container ports, nine are Asian. The Chinese port of Qingdao, which handled 13.02 million TEUs, and the West Asian port of Dubai, which handled 13 million TEUS, are at the eightth and the ninth positions respectively.

Rotterdam, the largest European container port, could only find the 10th place in the league by handling 11.9 million TEUs with a 6.8 per cent growth rate. In the 14th and 15th places are two more European ports — Hamburg and Antwerp which handled 9 million TEUs and 8.6 million TEUs respectively.

But the Chinese port of Tianjin, the Malaysian port of Port Klang and the Taiwanese port of Kaohsiung are well ahead at in the 11th, 12th and 13th slots by handling 11.5 million TEUs, 9.7 million TEUs and 9.6 million TEUs respectively. Two US ports — Los Angles, which handled 7.9 million TEUs, and Long Beach, which handled 6 million TEUs — found place at the 16th and 20th position respectively.

The Malaysian port of Tanjung Pelepas and the two Chinese ports of Xiamen and Dalian are placed at the 17th, 18th and 19th places respectively by handling 7.5 million TEUs, 6.46 million TEUs and 6.4 million TEUs respectively. An analysis of the top 25 container ports suggests that 18 are Asian, four European and three American.

The Malaysian ports of Port Klang and Tanjung Pelepas were among the best performers in 2011 with traffic growth of 10 per cent and 15 per cent respectively. The former is building a third terminal complex to support the north and west port operations which are expected to reach saturation level by 2016. Currently, about 60 per cent of its container traffic involves transshipment.

A significant entry into the league of 30 top ports is the Vietnamese port of Ho Chi Minh (ranked 31st in 2008, 28th in 2009, and 29th in 2010) at 26th in 2011 by handling 4.67 million TEUs. Multinational companies are looking at Vietnam as an alternate production site to China, which resulted in several carriers starting direct call services to/from Vietnam. Colombo, ranked 27th in 2008, slipped to 31st in 2009, and improved to 28th in 2010, slipped again to 31st position in 2011 by handling 4.26 million TEUs. With the ongoing development of the south harbour expansion, Colombo is most likely to make an entry into the top 30 league in a couple of years.

Only indian port

The only Indian container port which figures in the league of top 30 ports is the JN Port at New Mumbai. It has slipped from 25th in 2010 to 28th in 2011. Even the 28th place is based on an estimate of handling 4.35 million TEUs in the calendar year 2011. But the actual number of containers handled in JN Port in 2011 is 4.3 million TEUs which will place the Port at the 29th place, below the Spanish port of Valencia which has handled 4.32 million TEUs.

A close scrutiny of container traffic handled at the three terminals at the JN Port reveals that its container terminal (JNPCT) has handled 0.969 million TEUs against a capacity of 0.91 million TEUs, while the terminal of the Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal (NSICT) has handled 1.44 million TEUs against a capacity of 1.11 million TEUs. The terminal of the Gateway Terminals India Container Terminal (GTICT) has handled 1.88 million TEUs against a capacity of 2.05 million TEUs. While the capacity utilisation of JNPCT reached 105 per cent, that of the NSICT reached 130 per cent. The utilisation of the terminal capacity at the GTICT was at 92 per cent.

These figures would suggest that all the three terminals are not only working to their full capacity but some are also exceeding capacities, leaving little room for augmentation and utilisation. Unless additional capacity is created and put in operation, the JN Port is unlikely to figure in the top 30 in the next two years as other Asian ports are actively pursuing an ambitious development agenda in container handling.

Published on July 15, 2012

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