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Coronavirus Pandemic Impact On European Mediterranean Ports

Coronavirus pandemic impact on European Mediterranean ports

Source: Autorità Portuale di Gioia Tauro
Gioia Tauro, Italy (PortSEurope) September 15, 2020 – Italian port of Gioia Tauro, a Mediterranean Sea transshipment hub, is showing strong growth in Q1, 2020 (H1 2020 figures are expected to be lower due to the coronavirus pandemic) as Terminal Investment Limited (TIL) became the full owner of Medcenter Container Terminal (MCT) at the port, according to PortEconomics, a web-based initiative aiming to advance knowledge
exchange on seaport studies. TIL acquired the 50% stake in Gioia Tauro it did not own from Contship Italia in the Summer of 2019. This move is now starting to have its effects with more MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company), containers directed via Gioia Tauro. TIL is owned by MSC. TIL invests in, develops and manages container terminals around the world. It was founded in 2000 to secure berths and terminal capacity in the major ports used by MSC. MSC is still TIL largest customer. MSC is the second largest and one of the fastest growing shipping lines globally in terms of fleet tonnage. Ports such as Spain’s Algeciras recorded a rather modest decline, while others, like Le Havre, France and Barcelona, Spain, saw their TEU throughput drop by more than 20%. Le Havre was already heavily affected by the French national strike in December 2019 and January 2020. In March and Q2 2020, the port’s strong exposure to trade with China further affected its results, according to PortEconomics. French Mediterranean port of Marseille also had a big volume drop of 17% in H1 2020. The sharp decline in Barcelona was mostly due to a collapse of transit traffic. Import/export containerised cargo flows there were less impacted. China’s COSCO Shipping Ports Limited-owned Greek hub port of Piraeus recorded negative growth figures for the first time in many years. Container volumes in Piraeus, Valencia, Barcelona (both Spain) and Genoa (Italy) ports were hit hard in H1 2020 by the pandemic. Final figures for the performance of all ports in H1, 2020 are expected by October. For the second year in a row in 2019, Piraeus was the largest European container port in the Mediterranean Sea with 5,650,000 TEUs and stunning growth of 15.1% compared to 2018. It continues to be the best performing European port in the Mediterranean in H1, 2020. The ranking of the other seven leading European ports in the Mediterranean in H1, 2020 is practically the same as in 2019. The ranking of the other seven leading European Mediterranean ports in 2019 remains unchanged from 2018 (total container throughput in 1,000 TEUs and percentage change from 2018): Valencia 5,441 (5%); Algeciras 5,120 (7.3%); Barcelona 3,324 (-2.9%); Le Havre 2,786 (-3.4%); Marsaxlokk (Malta) 2,720 (-17.8%); Genoa 2,635 (1%); and Gioia Tauro 2,523 (8.4%). A very large part of the container traffic growth in the top Mediterranean ports was from transhipment business: Piraeus and Algeciras are almost pure Mediterranean transhipment hubs, while Valencia and Barcelona combine significant transhipment flows with gateway cargo to the (mainly Spanish) hinterland. As an interesting comparison, the Moroccan transhipment port of Tanger Med handled nearly 4.8 million TEU in 2019, growth of 38% compared to 2018. With the new capacity at its container terminal as of 2019, Tanger Med is challenging the European hubs around the Straits of Gibraltar (Spanish Algeciras, Valencia and Portuguese Sines), and the hubs in the central Mediterranean Sea like Italy’s Gioia Tauro and Cagliari and Malta’s Marsaxlokk. Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2020.

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