Number of ports experiencing some delays in cross-border trucking services, with rail and barge delays increasing noticeably.
The results of the sixteenth survey of global ports have been published in the WPSP- IAPH COVID19 Port Economic Impact Barometer today, with an even spread of 70 participants worldwide.
The share of ports facing a significant drop in container vessels calls (i.e. in excess of 25%) dropped further to 2% . Some three quarters of ports are reporting that vessel calls are similar or even higher compared to the same period the year before. The evolution continues to evolve in a positive direction given the surge of container volumes on some trade routes (e.g., trans-pacific) combined with a sharp decrease in idle container vessel capacity since July/August 2020.
“Containerized cargo and other cargoes are on a par with, if not above, the expected levels for this period of the year. Cargo vessel traffic is now getting back to normal. There has been a recovery in goods related to several industries – such as exporting/importing for the steel industry or the movement of automotive units.”, commented co-author Professor Theo Notteboom
Cruise and passenger services still remain seriously impacted
The cruise/passenger market remains the most affected by the COVID-19 contagion. In week 6 of 2021, 57% of respondents indicate that passenger vessel calls are down more than 50%, in many cases even down more than 90%.
In some parts of the world, the lack of passenger ships arrivals continues; specific ports reported an annual decline approaching 90% of the expected normal. There are still cases where due to the applied restrictions on people movements, the passenger vessels are used mainly for carrying cargo. Many ports report the cruise season as ‘canceled for the entire season, with cruise vessels berthing only for lay-up or shipyard.
Increase in barge and rail delays on the intermodal leg
The situation in hinterland transport slightly deteriorated compared to November and December 2020. November seemed to present a turning point. While in October, none of the ports were reporting delays (6-24 hours) or heavy delays (> 24 hours) in cross-border road transportation, this figure bounced up to 16.3% in November (week 45) and increased further to 20% in February 2021. While this percentage is far below the figures of more than 40% in weeks 15 and 16, it shows that fewer ports are experiencing normal cross-border trucking operations.
Whilst trucking availability remains unaffected, some 18.6% of ports face disruptions in rail services, up from the record low figure of 4.9% in October (week 41) and 11.1% in December 2020. The situation for barge services has significantly deteriorated, with 30% of ports now reporting delays.
“The sudden recent surge in volumes on several big trade routes is testing the capacity limits of some ports/terminals and their inland transport systems, leading to disruptions in hinterland transport connectivity in some ports.”, commented co-author Professor Thanos Pallis
The 16th 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 16th (February 2021) issue of the IAPH-WPSP COVID19 Port Economic Barometer report, click here.