Asian Ports Dominate New Container Terminal Efficiency Index

Container operations at Yokohama (APMT file image)

Published May 7, 2021 1:54 PM by Njiraini Muchira

Yokohama port in Japan has been ranked as the most efficient port in the world in a new index in which Asian ports dominate.

The new global Container Port Performance Index (CPPI), launched by the World Bank and IHS Markit, ranks Yokohama ahead of King Abdullah Port in Saudi Arabia and Qingdao in China.

Yokohama Port Corporation data show that in 2019, the port handled more than 32,000 ships with a gross tonnage of nearly 300 million. The port’s container cargo throughput stood at 2.9 million TEU.

The index finds that Asian container ports are the most efficient in the world, dominating the Top 50 spots.

Despite being the highest ranked European port Algeciras in Spain is at position 10 in the index. Colombo in Sri Lanka is the top-ranked port in South Asia at 17th place and Mexico’s Lazaro Cardenas leads the Americas at 25th.

Canada’s Halifax is the only other North American port in the Top 50. Djibouti, in 61st place, is the top-ranked African port.

“The development of high-quality and efficient container port infrastructure is a key contributor to successful, export-led growth strategies both in developing and developed countries,” said Martin Humphreys, World Bank Lead Transport Economist.

He added that efficient ports also ensure business continuity and improve the resilience of the maritime gateways as crucial nodes in the global logistical system.

The index, the first of its kind, is a comparison of global container port performance that is intended to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement in container port operations.

The index scored ports against different metrics, making the efficiency ranking comparable around the globe by assessing and standardizing for different ship sizes and container moves per call. It is based on total port hours per ship call, defined as the elapsed time between when a ship reaches a port to its departure from the berth having completed its cargo exchange.

Greater or lesser workloads are accounted for by examining the underlying data within ten different call size ranges. Five distinct ship size groups are accounted for in the methodology,  given the potential for greater fuel and emissions savings on larger vessels.

The index indicates that key port performance metrics such as minutes per container move show large discrepancies in global port efficiency. While top performers such as Yokohama take just 1.1 minutes on average to load or unload a container in a standard port call, the average for equivalent workloads in African ports is more than three times that at 3.6 minutes.

“Inefficient port operations have a very direct impact on supplies across the country and their populations. During the Covid-19 pandemic we saw port delays causing shortages of essential goods and higher prices,” noted Turloch Mooney, IHS Markit Maritime and Trade Associate Director. He added that over the longer term, port bottlenecks can mean slower economic growth, higher costs for importers and exporters and even resulting in less employment.

More than four-fifths of global merchandise trade by volume is carried by sea, and approximately 35 percent of total volumes and over 60 percent of commercial value is shipped in containers.