Graphic Business News

Maesk leads shipping line performance

By: Maclean Kwofi

ABOUT 34 shipping lines were involved in the containerised cargo trade which amounted to 600,405 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) for last year.

The highest operators were Maesk Line, with 197,062 TEUs, representing 32.8 per cent while the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), had 109,843 TEUs.

This was contained in the first quarter 2018 Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) shipping review. A total of 113 shipping lines and charterers participated in transporting the over 20.3 million tonnes of the country’s seaborne cargo through the ports of Tema and Takoradi.

The performance of the shipping lines per trade type liner, break bulk, dry bulk and liquid bulk. In the same line, 32 shipping agents were involved in the containerised trade to and from Ghana.

Together, they handled 600,405 TEUs for the 2017. The highest performing agencies were Maersk Ghana Limited, with 197,611 TEUs and MSC, with 118,917 TEUs.

Trade performance
However, the volume of goods shipped through the country's two seaports increased by 15.91 per cent to 21.5 million tonnes in 2017. The growth was influenced by corresponding increment in exports and imports.

Cargo throughput for the Tema Port was 14.47 million tonnes, representing 68 per cent of the total, while Takoradi recorded 6.96 million tonnes, representing 32 per cent of the total seaborne trade.

Transit imports amounted to 1.1 million, while transit meant for imports recorded 55,328 tonnes.

But the country's seaborne trade volume increased by 15.9 per cent in 2017 over the year 2016 and the outlook for 2018 is a growth in cargo throughput by about 10 per cent compared to 2017.

The world economy
The GSA, in its quarterly maritime Journal Shipping Review, explained that in 2016, the world economy had some difficulty in the wake of the Brexit and China's lower-than-expected demand for raw materials, among others creating some uncertainty on the shipping market.

There was ,therefore, over supply of tonnage in the shipping market that suppressed freight rates in the major trading routes.

However, 2017 witnessed some recovery in the world economy with global economic output estimated to have grown at 3.7 per cent compared to 3.6 per cent in 2016.

The improved performance of world trade in 2017 is in part due to the recovering investments in the major markets, especially US and China, boosting demand for imports.

Reduction in political uncertainty in the world may have also contributed to the improvement.

It was to be noted that world seaborne trade and maritime transport services are very much dependent on the world economic performance.

Economic growth
The improvement in economic growth, in addition to the strategies adopted by shipping companies, had contributed in firming up freight rates.

A major development in 2017 was the alignments, reconfiguration, mergers and acquisitions within the container shipping business.

There were three major alliances involving large global players. Maersk Line, MSC and Hyundai Merchant Marine formed an alliance.

It is expected that the full impact of these alliances, mergers and acquisitions would be seen in 2018 and beyond.

However, it can be noted that without excessive increase in tonnage in the short-term, shippers should brace up for increasing freight rates in the containerised trade sector with corresponding effects on other segments in 2018.

Ghana sustained its maritime trade performance in 2017 amid weaker-than-expected global economic conditions and fragile commodity prices. —GB