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Disruptions drive changes in global container port performance ranking

Home Government & Municipal Disruptions drive changes in global container port performance ranking

THE World Bank published the newest global Container Port Performance Index (CPPI) last week, noting that it reveals that east and southeast Asian ports excelled in 2023, accounting for 13 of the top 20 places. South Africa’s container terminals fared dismally.

The CPPI ranks 405 global container ports by efficiency, focusing on the duration of port stay for container vessels. Its primary aim is to identify areas for enhancement for the benefit of multiple stakeholders in the global trading system and supply chains, from ports to shipping lines, national governments, and consumers.

There are 57 new ports in the CPPI 2023, including Muuga Harbour in Estonia and Port of Al Duqm in Oman, as well as several notable movers. One of the major Indian ports, Visakhapatnam Port, made it into the top 20. Despite its relatively low ranking, Dar es Salaam Port in Tanzania managed to shave ship arrival times by 57%.

Regional disruptions impacted port performance everywhere, according to the new report.

“While the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath eased further in 2023, container shipping continues to be an unpredictable and volatile sector,” said Martin Humphreys, lead transport Economist at the World Bank. “Major ports need to invest in resilience, new technology, and green infrastructure to ensure the stability of global markets and the sustainability of the shipping industry.”

“There is a greater awareness and focus on resilience and efficiency of maritime gateways and greater understanding of negative impact of port delays on economic development,” said Turloch Mooney, head of port intelligence & analytics at S&P Global Market Intelligence. “The highly interconnected nature of container shipping means the negative effect of poor performance in a port can extend beyond that port’s hinterland and disrupt entire schedules. This increases the cost of imports and exports, reduces competitiveness and hinders economic growth and poverty reduction.”

Looking at the top-performing ports, China’s Yangshan Port earned the top spot for the second consecutive year, while Oman’s Port of Salalah retained the number two position. The port of Cartagena in Colombia ascended to third place. Tanger-Mediterranean of Morocco held steady in fourth, and Tanjung Pelepas Port in Malaysia rounded out the top five.

Regional ports: Sub-Saharan Africa

The highest-ranking port in sub-Saharan Africa on the CPPI is Berbera in Somaliland. Further down the east coast, the port of Mogadishu (also known as Mogadiscio) in Somalia is ranked second in the region. The west African port of Conakry in Guinea is ranked third and Malabo in Equatorial Guinea is fourth. The port of Freetown in Sierra Leone ranked fifth.

South Africa’s ports fare dismally on the index, with Durban ranked 399 (down from 339 in the 2022 ranking). Port Elizabeth is South Africa’s highest-ranked container port at 391. Ngqura and Cape Town achieved the lowest index scores and are ranked last and second-last at 404 and 405 on the global rankings.

Table 4.7: The CPPI by Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Source: The Container Port Performance Index 2023 p45/6

Developed by the World Bank and S&P Global Market Intelligence, the fourth edition of CPPI is based on the biggest dataset ever: more than 182,000 vessel calls, 238.2 million moves, and about 381 million twenty-foot equivalents (TEUs) for the full calendar year of 2023. More than 80% of merchandise trade is transported by sea, so the resilience, efficiency, and overall performance of ports is crucial to global markets and economic development.

The full index can be found here.

Transnet responds

In response to the rankings, Transnet issued a statement today saying that the state-owned enterprise had met with World Bank representatives on 10 June to discuss what it calls factual errors in the CPPI.

Transnet asserts that the Bank incorrectly uses the duration of a vessel’s stay as a measure of container port cargo handling performance, relied on third party sample data and failed to give a measured terminal access to the data sample for verification prior to publication.

Transnet says that Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has been requesting access to the data used in the report over the past few years, without any success. In the meeting, it was agreed that this data would now be made available to allow Transnet an opportunity to interrogate the data.

Transnet group chief executive, Michelle Phillips also pointed out that since October 2023, Transnet has been implementing a Recovery Plan to improve operational and financial performance across the business.

*An edited version of Transnet’s response has been added to the original version of this article.



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