Fitch report paints gloomy container port growth picture

Fitch report paints gloomy container port growth picture

Container ports should expect slower growth for the foreseeable future, according to a new report from Fitch Ratings.

The ratings agency also observed that growing protectionism around the world would represent a significant additional risk, with the potential to reverse sector growth.

Global boxport traffic growth has slowed in recent years, Fitch said, as a result of a maturing container shipping industry, the growth of China’s internal market and shifting global supply chains.

“Together, we expect these factors to result in sector growth that is much closer to global GDP growth, compared to the two decades before the financial crisis, when the growth rate in container throughput was a multiple of GDP,” it said, adding: “A long-term lower-growth environment therefore increases the potential for periods of intense competition,” it said.

This greater competition would likely impact small and medium-sized ports more going forward, Fitch predicted.

Moreover, the dramatic consolidation in the container shipping sector could also further erode the pricing power of smaller ports.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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