The third edition of the IAPH World Ports Tracker has been published, confirming shortage of trucks and truck drivers in some regions, bulk cargo growth, overall improved hinterland connectivity, some increases in inland warehouse utilisation, and a record cruise season expected for the main regions.
mong the highlights in this report are the significant rise in global cruise and ferry vessel calls, the shortage of trucks and truck drivers in several regions of the world, and the confirmation (and quantification) that larger vessel and higher call sizes do not go hand-in-hand with higher terminal productivity in all regions.
Professor Theo Notteboom commented:
On a year-on-year basis, port productivity in Q3 2022 increased in three world regions. Two are in Asia, North East Asia (+9.4%) and South East Asia (+4.9%) respectively. The third one is Africa (+16.4%). However, in all world regions, ports are confronted with a new challenge. This is the increase in the number of containers they handle per vessel call
In all other parts of the world, container vessel calls saw only minor changes in Q3 2022. The strongest declines are observed in Northern Europe (-13%), the Mediterranean (-3.8%) and North America (-3.7%).
According to the report, except for container traffic, ports around the world are, on average, slightly more optimistic than three months ago about the expected traffic evolution in the next twelve months.
Compared to Q2 2022, the share of ports facing delays in trucking and rail is down for container traffic and up for bulk/breakbulk flows, while the inland transport situation for barges has improved for all cargo types.
Availability of truckers is a major issue in some regions, such as the Sub Saharan Africa, Central & South America for bulk/breakbulk). The survey results show 34% of ports reporting an increase or major increase in the utilisation of warehousing and distribution facilities for containerized goods, with 16% reporting capacity shortages. Ports reporting moderate to severe truck driver shortages are widespread.
Finally, a significantly higher share of ports foresees growth in cruise passenger movements in the next twelve months. Professor Thanos Pallis commented :
With the resumption of cruise activities in the post-pandemic period in progress, the number of cruise vessel calls in the vast majority of world cruise ports continues to increase
Some ports are forecasting the largest cruise season on record in terms of vessel calls scheduled and passengers visiting the port and the destination. Expectations of growth in the number of cruise passengers visiting the respective ports are even higher than those referring to cruise ships calls.