Covid-19 could stifle container port investment

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The pace at which port container capacity expands, is set to contract by 40% due to Covid-19.

According to the Global Container Terminal Operators Annual Review and Forecast, by global shipping consultancy Drewry, port capacity expansion is set to contract by 40% over the next five years due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Global container terminal capacity, is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 2.1% over the next five years, according to Drewry, which equates to an additional 25 million teu a year, which is significantly below the average of 40 million teu, over the past decade.

Port throughput is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 3.5% over this period from 801 million teu in 2019 to reach 951 million teu by 2024. However, risks remain should a resurgence in COVID-19 cases cause further widespread economic lockdowns over the forecast period.

Eleanor Hadland, author of the report and Drewry’s senior analyst for ports and terminals said: “Our five-year forecast for global container port handling has been cut back drastically due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the risks remain heavily weighted to the downside.”

As a result of the pandemic, operators and port authorities are actively reviewing delivery of planned projects in the light of the drastic slowdown in economic growth and uncertain short-to-medium-term outlook.

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