Shenzhen port upgrades volume forecast
Russell Barling and Zheng Xiaohui
Last month's container throughput clears one-million mark
The Shenzhen Municipal Port Bureau yesterday upgraded its annual volume forecast for the third time this year after discovering last month's throughput had eclipsed the one-million container mark for the third consecutive month.
Strong holiday-season demand from consumers in Europe and the United States saw 1.03 million boxes cross the docks in Shenzhen, bringing the 10-month total to 8.69 million, or almost 40 per cent more than last year.
'Given that the volume for the first 10 months has already reached 8.69 million teu [20ft equivalent units], and that we expect more than a million boxes a month for this month and next, we think we definitely will handle more than 10 million teu this year,' said bureau director of port and shipping administration Zhou Tianlin.
The bureau upgraded its forecast to 9.5 million teu in August.
The four major ports which make up Shenzhen - Yantian, Chiwan, Shekou and CM Ports - are experiencing better than comparative growth of 25 per cent this year, intercepting cargo which in past years transited Hong Kong.
In the past six years, Hong Kong has seen the proportion of south China's ocean-going cargo it handled drop from 91 per cent to less than 60 per cent this year.
That trend continued in September, when the main terminals in Hong Kong handled 1.1 million teu, down 6.6 per cent year on year.
According to industry experts, the main reason for the migration is the money shippers save by using Shenzhen ports.
'The biggest single factor is the cost of trucking. If you compare the cost of trucking from the factory to Yantian, for example, it costs US$200 more per box to use Hong Kong,' Erik Bogh Christensen, managing director of Modern Terminals, Hong Kong's No2 container handler said.
A study released last month by McKinsey and Co found that exporters saved US$260 per box compared with Hong Kong when shipping through Shekou or Chiwan; the comparative saving was $210 via Yantian. All three Shenzhen facilities' terminal handling charges were also $100 per box cheaper.
Throughput at Yantian, on the eastern side of the Pearl River delta, in the first 10 months reached 4.31 million teu, up 27.5 per cent year on year. At Chiwan and Shekou, the western delta's main ports, throughput reached 1.3 million and 1.24 million teu.