IAPH published the October issue of its COVID-19 Port Economic Impact Barometer authored by PortEconomics members Theo Notteboom and Thanos Pallis.
The COVID-19 Port Economic Impact Barometer was developed by a dedicated Task Force operating under the World Ports Sustainability Program (WPSP) and gauges the impact of the pandemic on ports from both operational and economic perspectives. In its most recent survey, IAPH has also surveyed ports of the impact of the economic downturn on port infrastructure investments and investments in general.
The latest issue confirms 45% of investments in environmental sustainability remain on track and 32% with a slight delay. 4% have been accelerated and 2% have additional funds. 15% have incurred major delays and only 2% have been shelved
The report by Professors Theo Notteboom and Thanos Pallis from the COVID19 Taskforce points towards momentary stabilization in the four main areas of operations, ports have been updating during the pandemic since early April.
Almost without exception, figures are holding steady at low levels for responding ports in terms of hinterland transport delays, high warehouse and storage capacity utilization, and shortages of port-related workers.
“It is noticeable for the first time that delays for trucks at both gates and for cross border trade, inland barge operations, and rail services have all fallen back to single digits” comments co-author Professor Theo Notteboom. He also added: “The number of ports reporting less container and cargo vessel calls compared to normal is, for the moment, holding steady at 35 and 40% respectively.”
The cruise and passenger remain the most impacted sector, with 51% of respondents in week 41 indicating that passenger vessel calls are down more than 50%, in many cases even down more than 90%. Since late August, only a few cruise operators have resumed some cruise activity, albeit on a very small scale compared to normal activity levels. For some ports, this implies that cruise ship calls will no longer remain at almost zero levels.
For passenger ferry services, co-author Professor Thanos Pallis commented: “The picture remains mixed with many ferry calls almost back to normal schedules but with fewer passengers on board. Some ports testified that even though passenger vessel calls are at reasonably decent levels, the number of passengers is as low as minus seventy to minus eighty percent”
Ports maintain environmental sustainability investment commitments
The current Barometer survey’s supplementary question asked ports on the status of their planned investments in environmental sustainability given the current situation with the pandemic. Answering ports responded with a majority (45%) executing investments as planned. Just under a third (32%) planned to execute them with a slight delay, whilst a not-insignificant 15% of investment projects have incurred major delays. Four percent were actually being accelerated with two percent receiving additional funding and at two percent, only a very small percentage of environmental sustainability projects have been shelved.
IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven commented: “The results on this particular question echo the views taken by some of the ports of our COVID19 Task Force, namely that a long-term integrated approach towards port environmental sustainability is the best way of combating this current crisis as well as future ones. Joined-up initiatives on climate change mitigation, energy transition, and data collaboration in combination with a coherent business continuity plan will reduce risks to ports’ businesses and enhance resilience.”
The13th issue of the WPSP-IAPH COVID19 Economic Impact Barometer report published on the World Ports COVID19 INFORMATION PORTAL under the FAQ section “WHAT IS THE ECONOMIC IMPACT ON THE GLOBAL PORT SECTOR?”.
To download the 13th issue of the WPSP-IAPH COVID19 Port Economic Barometer report, click here.