Demand in East Asia for quayside container gantry cranes grew 48.97 per cent last year to 797, compared with 535 cranes in 1995, a report says. The report by British-based Ocean Shipping Consultants said East Asia had the largest demand for gantry cranes despite the Asian financial crisis, with 80 units more in place last year, compared with an additional 94 in 1997 and 88 in 1996. Prices for quayside container cranes weakened in 1996 and remained relatively unchanged in 1997 due to competition from emerging manufacturers in Asia since the early 1990s. The fall in value of the South Korean won and decline in demand in Southeast Asia had put further pressure on prices. The report said demand in the future depended on global container port demand, which was forecast to increase by 16 per cent over the 1998-2000 period, and by a further 91-125 per cent to between 418 million teu (20 ft equivalent units) and 491 million teu over 2000-2012. Based on the growth forecast of global ports, by next year an additional 342 quayside container gantry cranes would be needed. Forty per cent of these would be needed in East Asia, 15 per cent in North America, 14 per cent in north and west Europe and 13 per cent in the Mediterranean. Depending on the economic scenario, there would be demand for a further 603 to 933 cranes between 2000-2004, 786 to 1,026 units between 2004 and 2008 and 857 to 1,092 units between 2008 and 2012. East Asia's share of demand was expected to rise by between 46.9 per cent and 47.8 per cent between 2008 and 2012. An additional 623 rubber-tyred gantry cranes and rail-mounted gantry cranes and 461 straddle carriers would also be added by 2000. Europe would take 41 per cent of the forecast demand for straddle carriers by next year and East Asia would take about 31 per cent. The driving force behind the market for container handling equipment was the growing trade in containers and increasing vessel size, the report said. Since 1990, the volume of containers moving through terminals had risen by about 116 per cent to 190 million teu. This strong growth would continue well into the next century. Terminals had been under pressure to provide faster turnaround times as carriers moved to use larger vessels. Consignment sizes were increasing and there had been a focusing of deep-sea calls on the largest ports. Terminals were becoming more automated because of advantages such as increased handling productivity, reduced land usage, reduced equipment needs and costs, and reduced labour needs.