Viewpoints

November 1st, 2016
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By Theo Notteboom Since 2015 four alliances are operational in the container shipping market: 2M, Ocean Three, CKY(H)E and G6. The merger of China Shipping and Cosco to form China Cosco Container Lines (COSCOCS) and the acquisition of APL/NOL by CMA CGM were the first major market changes signalling major changes in the current alliance structure. By Q2 of 2017, the new alliance landscape would include the 2M alliance and two new large-scale alliances, i.e. the Ocean Alliance and THE Alliance. In the past few months the container...
October 13th, 2016
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By Jason Monios As container ships grow ever larger to achieve greater economies of scale and hence cost savings, ports expand to be able to handle them. This expansion occurs both in terms of the physical size of berths and the speed and efficiency of handling the large drops of containers that must be moved in and out of the port gate and through the hinterland. Port systems evolve according to these trends, resulting in a concentration of container movements at a handful of hub ports within each range, and flows are then feedered to...
October 7th, 2016
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By Peter de Langen In a recent academic conference in Hamburg, various papers addressed differentiated port dues for green ships partly to address the European Commission’s evident favouritism of such an approach, writes Peter de Langen. While the idea is appealing, port policy makers may be overly enthusiastic about their potential impact while ports may see this as a relatively easy way to demonstrate their commitment to the environment. However, the impact of differentiated port dues may be limited for a number of reasons. Port dues...
September 22nd, 2016
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By Theo Notteboom China is home to the largest port system in the world, certainly in terms of cargo volumes. Chinese ports are subject to a unique port governance framework which differs from the traditional landlord port system found in most key ports around the world. Port governance in China is the theme of a recent academic port study had been developed by PortEconomics member Theo Notteboom together with Yang Zhongzhen. The study is now available online and will be part of a special issue of the academic journal 'Research in...
September 10th, 2016
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By Jean-Paul Rodrigue For many years, the shipping industry has been in a situation of overcapacity, which was depressing rates and impairing the profitability of shipping lines. To make matters worse, almost every major shipping line was ordering larger containerships, caught in a vicious circle of trying to boost profitability with economies of scale. Capacity was growing faster than demand. In such as setting, there were discussion and rumors within the industry about which major shipping company would fold first in an environment...
September 4th, 2016
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By Jan Hoffman Chief, Trade Facilitation Section at UNCTAD (Linkedin) Containerships have never been bigger than today, container freight rates have never been lower, and never has so much container carrying capacity been idle. Not a trilemma, but three sides of the same coin. And after several years of calmness at the M&A front, we have new mergers among liner companies. In March 2016, the idle container ship fleet stands at 1.6 million TEU, and a shipper may pay less than 200 US$ to have his twenty foot container...
August 29th, 2016
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By Francesco Parola After 22 years from the introduction of the landlord system (1994 Port Reform), the Italian Government approved a new reform law that is going to further reshape the organization of the whole port architecture at national level. The current 24 Port Authorities (PAs), together with other 33 minor ports, are going to be substituted by 15 Port System Authorities. In line with the rationale of the Law, PSAs inherit the duties and the power of traditional PAs, with a broader geographical scope. Existing PAs, indeed,...
August 22nd, 2016
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By Peter de Langen Cruises are increasingly relevant in port development so taking a look at pricing can be insightful, writes Peter de Langen. In Spain, dues charged by the port authority for cruise ships, expressed per passenger, vary from about €1 to about €6, depending on the port and ship capacity. These costs seem below the costs for the infrastructure and facilities. As a comparison, average ‘airside’ revenues of the Spanish airport company (AENA) are more than €9 per passenger. I acknowledge that this comparison...
August 11th, 2016
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By Thanos Pallis August 11, 2016 is a historic day for Greek ports: This is the first day that Port of Piraeus, the major commercial port of the country operates under the ownership of COSCO-China Pacific Ltd. Given (a) the long-term commitment of the Chinese government to gain this right in this very specific way (i.e. via a buy of the ‘master concession’ by state controled corporation) and develop Piraeus, (b) that the company (and the specific management team) operates since 2009 the major container terminal of the port in a most...
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