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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
10/06/19 12:23

More competitive containers port in Italy in 2020

Testi (Contship Italia) illustrates Spezia port's forthcoming appeal versus Rotterdam on the Asia-Europe trade due to low sulphur cap extra-cost

Containers freight transport, and consequently Italian ports, will have to meet different standards to seize new opportunities and downsize negative consequences.

Global containers handling growth in 2019 will be downsized and trading core will be heading Eastwards.

The global shipping transport scenario has been deeply changed by giant carriers partnerships, however, the new sulphur cap regulations to be enforced in 2020 will urge shipping companies to shorten lines so as to cut cost and Italian ports will consequently become more competitive than Northern European ones for ships coming/heading to Asia.

Here are few considerations illustrated by Daniele Testi, marketing manager at Contship Italia, while attending the convention arranged by Atena.

Despite few unstable occurrences (Brexit, customs duty war, Chinese economy and debt, Venezuela crisis), the figures illustrated by Testi show that 779 million TEU were handled globally in 2018 (+4.3%), actually also including swap bodies and transshipment, while global containers trading  recorded 219 million TEU (+5%).

Disregarding a potential deterioration in USA – China relations, 2019 forecast still shows positive results although lower growth rates in compliance with global economy's slowdown.

Port handling will reach 810 million TEU (+3.9%) while global trade should stand at 225 million  TEU (+2.9%); in 2023 global trade should reach 263.9 million TEU (+ 19.6% versus 2018).

Contship marketing manager pinpoints how the world is increasingly heading East with China taking 57.7% of the global handled containers; Italy (reaching overall 10 million TEU, including transshipments) only records 7.4%.

Still according to Testi, following latest mergers between global liners, during the last 7 years,  regular services rotation has dropped while ships gigantism and global capacity has increased.

After 2018, overall 26 Ultra Large Container Carriers (exceeding 18,000 TEU capacity;  5,215,000 TEU) were delivered by shipyards, further 22 units (460,000 TEU capacity) will be delivered this year and 28 by 2020 (660,000 TEU).

On the Asia-Europe corridor, containers transport's offer and demand seem to be growing simultaneously and available capacity ranges between 80 and 90%, while the value of freight rates to the Mediterranean was higher (1,623 dollars/40” container) than the one to Northern Europe (1,606 dollars) for 25 weeks out of 52.

Southern European ports and particularly Italian ones might become more competitive after the new low sulphur cap regulations will be enforced in 2020.

Eco-friendly fuel will be more expensive and shipping companies are anticipating 20 to 30% rates increase.

Shipping industry envisages 15 billion dollars extra cost, 50 – 75% of which will be charged customers.

Namely La Spezia, which consents a ship coming from Singapore saving 1,900 nautical miles (-22.8%) versus Rotterdam, will definitely become more competitive.

Finally, regarding terminal operators in Europe which have beeny increasingly controlled by group of operators backed by global carriers (Til, Apm Terminals, Cosco, etc.), Contship's manager states that according to Drewry and European Shippers’ Council, customers (importers, exporters and freight forwarders) satisfaction in relation to  provided services has lately dropped.


Nicola Capuzzo