Council blames port congestion on inefficient transport infrastructure

shipINEFFICIENT Transport infrastructure and labour difficulties are to blame for port congestion, the World Shipping Council (WSC), has said. 

The WSC, whose members own 90 per cent of the tonnage afloat, in a position paper published on Monday also lamented inconsistent terminal productivity, poor transport infrastructure linking to road, rail and intermodal network disruption.

According to the WSC paper, port infrastructure is a big problem, citing equipment shortages, hours of operation and little storage space “all contributing to disruptions”

The current edition of Lloyd’s Loading List explained that while larger ships have brought greater numbers of containers to ports, “ship sizes have been ever increasing. Mega ships have been confined to the Asia-Europe trades, rather than the transpacific, and European Union (EU) ports have not suffered the same disruptions as seen in the United States.

Explaining further, WSC said Terminals have been aware for many years that larger ships were entering service, adding that their arrival should come as no surprise, “Major ports have been dredging and acquiring new equipment to serve larger vessels”.

The report also pointed out that ultra-large containerships make up less than 10 per cent of the global fleet and most do not call at US ports, while vessels of 12,000 Twenty foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) make up only a small percentage of calls in the US.

WSC said: “Given the competitive nature of the business and constant pressure on rates, carriers will continue to use the most efficient ships available for a given trade lane, meaning that vessels will continue to get large.”

It explained that fuel prices and increasing environmental regulations have imposed higher costs on the industry that can only be addressed through the efficiencies of larger vessels.

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