Container throughput in ports of Latin America and the Caribbean increased by 7.7% in 2018 compared to 2017, according to data provided by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). ECLAC updates every year its report of container port throughput, which shows the cargo volume in containers in the ports of the region, based on data obtained directly from port authorities and terminal operators. This analysis is based on the performance of a sampling of 31 countries and 118 ports and port areas in the region.
According to the annual report unveiled by the organization, the data largely maintained the heterogeneity seen in throughput behavior in previous periods, both in reference to ports and countries.
- In 2018 the activity rose 7.7% in the 118 ports analyzed, with a total volume of approximately 53.2 million TEU.
- Of the total sample, 66 ports and port areas saw their figures improve versus 2017.
- The total volume of activity in 2018 exceeded 53.2 million TEU, which represents 7.1% of global throughput, marking a slight increase in the rate versus the previous year (when it amounted to 6.6% of global throughput).
- The ten countries contributing the most to the total volume of cargo handled represented 84.1% of regional movement. These are (from highest to lowest based on the quantity of TEU mobilized): Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
- In 2018 the East Coast of South America (ECSA) recorded a 12% increase in the activity of ports and port areas, measured in terms of volume.
- Meanwhile, the West Coast of South America (WCSA) continued with a slight upward trend, growing 7% in 2018, compared with the 6% seen between 2016 and 2017.
- The Caribbean showed 12% growth in total throughput, while Central America (without including Mexico) had more subtle growth of 7% only on the West Coast, since the East Coast essentially maintained the same activity levels as in 2017.
- The Gulf of Mexico area grew 8% versus 2017, and Pacific Mexico 11%. Panama, meanwhile, experienced growth on its Caribbean coast (11%) with regard to the country’s total throughput, while its Pacific coast registered a decline of -16%.
With this respect, ECLAC’s annual port report includes some format modifications that are aimed at including other analyses of the data, which will also be incorporated in the future into the Maritime and Logistics Profile managed by the institution.
These novelties include an examination of the tonnes mobilized by port and port area in 2018. Of the 20 ports and port areas in the sampling, only those in Brazil show individual tonnage exceeding 100 million, while the top twenty ports include terminals in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Panama.
Another example is an analysis of the relative importance of container transshipment in relation to total throughput in a country.
In the first ten countries, the total of transshipments represents nearly 30% of the entire throughput of the 31 countries and 118 ports and port areas under consideration. Caribbean ports represent 22.3%, while the importance of the East Coast of South America is striking in 2018.