Tools from ocean carrier schedule and capacity database BlueWater Reporting compare how Tianjin stacks up to other nearby container ports.
The Port of Tianjin in northern China suffered a devastating explosion at a warehouse for dangerous materials owned by the Rui Hai Company last week. Although Chinese authorities have temporarily banned all shipments of hazardous cargo to and from Tianjin, the port has since resumed the import and export of all non-dangerous goods.
Applications from ocean carrier schedule and capacity database BlueWater Reporting help illustrate how the explosion, which left at least 114 dead, could potentially impact world container trade, as well as how the port stacks up to some of its primary competitors.
According to BlueWater Reporting’s Port Dashboard application, 51 direct liner services call at Tianjin, 25 of which are dedicated intra-Asia loops. This data does not include intra-regional services outside of BlueWater Reporting’s scope, which only covers intra-Asia trade between Northern Asia (Japan, Korea and Russia), Central Asia (China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), and Southeast Asia. Of the services calling Tianjin, 42 operate with fully cellular vessels, four utilize multi-purpose vessels, three deploy roll-on/roll-off vessels and two operate with general cargo vessels.
With about 40 percent of the market, Tianjin is also China’s largest import gateway for cars, according to the official Xinhua news agency. As a result the explosion, Toyota Motor Corp. is reportedly looking to divert its Tianjin shipments to Dalian and Shanghai and other companies are also diverting shipments to Dalian, Shanghai and Guangzhou, according to news outlet Reuters.
The northern Chinese port of Dalian, which is Tianjin’s closest regional competitor at approximately 230 nautical miles away, has 35 shipping services calling its port, 23 of which are dedicated to intra-Asia trade.
The other major container port in northern China is Qingdao, which is approximately 500 nautical miles from Tianjin and has 87 shipping services that call there, 34 of which are dedicated to intra-Asia trade.
Shanghai, the busiest port in Asia as well as worldwide, has a total of 221 services that call there, 79 of which are dedicated to the intra-Asia trade.
Of course, there is some overlap in port calls on Asia loops, and six of the 42 fully containerized services calling at Tianjin also call at Dalian, Qingdao and Shanghai. Of the remaining 36 loops, 22 call two of the other ports examined, while 10 services call one of the abovementioned ports in addition to Tianjin.
Built using data from BlueWater Reporting’s Capacity Report, the adjacent chart compares the combined weekly deployed capacity of all direct liner services that call at the ports of Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao and Shanghai. At 179,646 TEUs of weekly deployed capacity, services calling Tianjin account for about 11 percent of the total 1,580,768 TEUs deployed in Asia each week. By comparison, loops calling Shanghai account for 1,008,589 weekly TEUs, equal to around 64 percent of overall capacity; those calling Qingdao deploy a combined 400,368 TEUs, 25 percent of total capacity; and services that call Dalian account for 129,207 TEUs of deployed weekly capacity, about 8 percent of the total.
CMA CGM told customers in recent a bulletin all terminals and off-dock depots at Tianjin have resumed normal operations, but containerships may still face significant delays be due to lingering congestion resulting from the explosion. According to research firm IHS Automotive, it could take at least a couple of months for the Port of Tianjin to clear the backlog of vessels and containers thanks to congested berths and low productivity at port terminals.