P&O Ports’ Asian terminals top 1.5 million TEU traffic
P&O Ports’ global container traffic rose 7 percent to 3.4 million TEUs in the quarter, led by a 12-percent increase to 1.5 million TEUs from its port activities in Asia.
Asian ports also increased their share of the port operator’s worldwide throughput to 44.3 percent in the latest quarter, from 42.5 percent a year earlier. “The overall trading environment for ports remains strong, enabling tariff increases to be achieved and leading to profit growth ahead of volume growth,” said London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steamship Co. which owns P&O Ports.
While P&O Ports’ volume growth averaged 12 percent in Asia in the first quarter, it reached 17 percent in China and India, whereas ports in the Philippines and Indonesia saw a decline in volumes. Good volume growth was achieved at Laem Chabang in Thailand.
P&O Ports’ container throughput across the Americas rose 10 percent to 552,000 TEUs in the first quarter. The British group does not publish a detailed breakdown of its volume in the Americas.
“Volumes were strong in the U.S. and the performance of the Port Newark container terminal continued to improve despite the winter weather being more severe than the prior year,” P&O said. In Argentina, volumes returned to anticipated levels compared to the high volumes in 2004. At Vancouver, “reasonable volume growth” was achieved, but some congestion occurred due to a lack of rail capacity and expansion work at the terminal, P&O Ports said. It is working on a redevelopment of the Vancouver terminal to double its size in the third quarter.
In Europe, P&O Ports container volumes fell 1 percent to 892,000 TEUs. “In Antwerp, one shipping line relocated volume to its own dedicated terminal,” P&O Ports explained. The Antwerp Gateway (Deurganckdok) development is on track to commence operations in the second half of the year. In the United Kingdom, an additional 4 acres of land were obtained at Southampton during February and capacity is being increased from 1.5 million to 1.9 million TEUs to accommodate peak season demand. P&O Ports’ terminal in Southampton lost a service during last year’s peak season to a competing terminal.
In Australia and New Zealand, P&O Ports said that good growth was achieved at the major Australian facilities and productivity improvements were sustained.