China’s major ports suffer record throughput falls

Container shipping volumes at the mainland’s two largest ports fell by the sharpest on record last month with throughput in Shanghai dropping 6 per cent and in Shenzhen by 15.7 per cent, and the situation could deteriorate.

“Chinese container ports will face negative growth in the first half and could be flat for the full year.” Shenzhen’s average container throughput figure masks an even worse performance in terms of containers carrying goods, or “laden containers”. Last month, Shenzhen’s outward-bound throughput of laden containers fell 23 per cent year on year, while its inward-bound throughput of laden containers plunged 27 per cent, according to Chinese port statistics. The reason Shenzhen’s average throughput decline in December was relatively better at 15.7 per cent was that the throughput of empty containers fell only 3 per cent, explained Sunny Ho Lap-kee, executive director of the Hong Kong Shippers’ Council. Shenzhen’s exports will worsen in the coming months because the drop in the inward-bound throughput of laden containers last month was greater than the drop in outward-bound throughput, said Mr Ho. Inbound cargo includes raw materials and components which are processed into finished goods for export.

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