PSA posts 9.8% growth in global container volumes

Writer: 
Jacqueline Woo

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN) - Brisk business in Singapore and overseas boosts throughput to 74.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

Port operator PSA International recorded a 9.8 per cent growth in the total number of containers it handled across the world last year, boosted by brisk business both in Singapore and overseas.

Container throughput at its global port projects came in at 74.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). Its flagship PSA Singapore Terminals contributed 33.35 million TEUs - up 9 per cent on the year before - to the total.

Container volumes at PSA terminals outside of Singapore rose 10.4 per cent to 40.89 million TEUs.

PSA group chief executive Tan Chong Meng said the global economy saw some recovery and bright spots of growth last year, although the shipping industry continued to face challenges as the huge wave of consolidation and alliances from 2016 began to manifest its full effects operationally.

"The word 'disruption' has moved from being a buzzword to being the norm for most industries, reflecting the accelerated pace of change and leaving no industry untouched," said Mr Tan.

He noted that PSA has performed reasonably well against the challenging backdrop and tough competition. "In addition, we are also preparing for a future where logistics and supply-chain needs are transformed by new technology, trade, manufacturing and e-commerce dynamics," he said.

"As we sail into 2018, we are cognisant that the world will continue to grapple with uncertainty geopolitically, economically and socially. The way businesses and consumers engage, transact and collaborate continues to evolve, and will have further impact on the form and flow of the global supply chain."

The Port of Singapore, as a whole, has emerged as a clear winner from the reshuffling of global shipping alliances, with box traffic expanding by 8.9 per cent last year.

Container throughput rose to 33.7 million TEUs from 30.9 million TEUs in 2016, according to advanced estimates released by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore last Friday (Jan 12). The increase was spurred by "improvements in global trade growth and the repositioning of major shipping alliances", said the port authority.

The Singapore Registry of Ships maintained its growth momentum, with the total tonnage of ships under the Singapore flag up 0.9 per cent to 88.8 million gross tons, from 88 million gross tons in 2016. This reinforces Singapore's position as one of the top 10 ship registries in the world.

Singapore also retained its status as the world's top bunkering port last year, with annual bunker sales crossing the 50 million tonne mark for the first time. The total volume of bunkers sold in the Port of Singapore grew 4.2 per cent to 50.6 million tonnes, compared with 48.6 million tonnes in 2016.

The Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map, which covers the port, shipping and maritime services sectors here, was launched last Friday. It is aimed at growing the industry's value-add by S$4.5 billion (US$3.4 billion) and creating more than 5,000 good jobs by 2025.