Although global container volumes are not projected to grow as rapidly over the next five years as they have over the past decade, the expansion of modern port and containerized operations concentrated in high-growth emerging markets such as Africa, Latin America and South and Southeast Asia will require higher levels of productivity and rely heavily upon expanded Inland Services, APM Terminals Chief Commercial Officer Martin Gaard Christiansen advised at the 15th Annual Global Liner Shipping Conference in London last week.
“We believe that increased reliability and efficiency of terminal operations can be crucial factors in helping shipping lines to achieve better results in this tough economic environment,” stated Mr. Christiansen, adding “and that is the heart of our strategy now in place throughout our portfolio”. Mr. Christiansen, speaking on the topic of restoring profitability to shipping companies in the current economic environment at the conference, pointed out that such savings could significantly impact carriers’ bottom lines.
The economies of scale which shipping lines have sought to exploit through the acquisition and operation of larger vessels are mirrored in the advantages of access to an extensive network of port and inland operations, particularly in high-growth locations where cargoes may be susceptible to delays beyond the terminal gates. Mr. Christiansen noted that the APM Terminals Global Terminal Network now comprises 62 operating port and terminal facilities with a presence, including Inland Services operations, in 68 countries, and is actively pursuing ongoing service-related investments.
Industry projections have indicated that capacity and congestion issues will continue to pose challenges in high-growth emerging markets where container volumes will expand at significantly higher rates than overall global container throughput. High-growth markets have been designated as priority investment areas for APM Terminals, which will open Brasil Terminal Portuário at the Port of Santos this year, and currently has new terminal projects at Moin, Costa Rica, and Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico, as well as an extensive modernization and expansion program underway at Callao, Peru.
“Latin America still has significant containerization potential with the rising middle class population” observed APM Terminals’ Managing Director of Inland Services for Latin America, Michael Kaasner Kristiansen, adding that “current portside infrastructure shortcomings can be compensated for through the increased use of inland container depots (ICDs), and enhanced port productivity and efficiency”. Mr. Kristiansen spoke at the event on the subject of the impact of the widening of the Panama Canal on global trade; APM Terminals’ Latin American Inland Services include at present 1,600 employees at 45 locations in 12 countries, with headquarters in Panama.
The movement of cargo such as soybeans, grains and sugar from Brazil and Bolivia, minerals from Chile and Peru and refrigerated products from Chile, Ecuador and Costa Rica will continue to transition from break-bulk and general cargo vessels to containerized liner trades as global trade patterns and economic growth continue to favor cross-trade between emerging markets.
Press Release, April 24, 2013