Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
Early in January North Sea Port posted a record year for the third year in succession. It was reported that the firms based in the port transhipped 71.4 million tonnes of seaborne cargo, an increase of 1.5%. The growth is mainly due to dry bulk and containers. (Our illustration kindly provided by North Sea Port shows a bulk trade.)
Moreover, the figure of 71.4 million tonnes means North Sea Port has broken the 70 million tonne barrier for the second time. This rise is primarily down to a growth in exports for the third consecutive year (+9.9%). Two years after its launch as a merged port, North Sea Port is maintaining its position as a true bulk gateway and is also making progress as a hub for containers between maritime and inland waterways.
Dry bulk and containers on an upward trajectory
Almost half of the goods that North Sea Port tranships is dry bulk. That volume rose to 34.6 million tonnes last year (+5.4%). Over two years, this segment is up 10%. A strong construction sector again meant increased transhipment of sand, gravel and construction materials in 2019. Coal transhipment – especially for processing industries – and agricultural products remained steady. Scrap and ores showed a small decline.
With very strong growth of 48.7%, container transhipment amounted to a total of 2.5 million tonnes and 330,000 TEU. This segment has doubled in two years. As in previous years, this is the result of attracting new services and an increase in refrigerated containers. North Sea Port is also growing as a hub for onward transport of containers from maritime shipping to the hinterland via inland waterways.
Transhipment of wet bulk fell slightly to 20.1 million tonnes (-2.2%). This decrease was mainly evident in the (petro)chemical sectors, largely due to a maintenance shutdown. However, a sharp increase (+42%) was recorded in the transhipment of biodiesel and vegetable oil.
Transhipment of conventional break bulk cargo totalled 11 million tonnes (-6.6%). Part of this decrease is attributable to fruit because this is increasingly being transported in containers. However, the transhipment of machines is on an upward trend.
Ro/ro fell to 3.2 million tonnes (-9.6%), with a noticeable fall in the number of vehicles and trailers.
Inland navigation gets in on the act
The record-breaking was not confined to transhipment via ocean going vessels – inland navigation also set a new record, with an increase from 58 million to 60 million tonnes (+3.4%).
With transhipment of 71.4 million tonnes via ocean going traffic and 60 million tonnes via inland navigation, North Sea Port achieved a total of 131.4 million tonnes transhipped in 2019 (+2.1%). And this does not include a further 15 to 16 million tonnes of transhipment via pipelines.
Short sea shipping and transatlantic freight traffic
North Sea Port focuses on both European coastal shipping (short sea shipping) and transatlantic freight traffic. The share of short sea shipping within total freight transhipment via maritime services remained at 63%. As in previous years, goods traffic with Europe and North and South America accounted for more than 90% of total cargo transhipped last year (93.5%).
In 2019, North Sea Port released 44 hectares of land.
With a record year behind it and rising freight transhipment in dry bulk and containers, North Sea Port is cautiously optimistic for 2020, as it was in early 2019. A continuation of the current trend of light growth is anticipated. Brexit, shrinking economic growth and (anticipated) trade wars provide reasons for caution.
On 5 August IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said:
‘I express my deepest condolences and sincerest sympathies to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Lebanon following the catastrophic explosions in the port of Beirut yesterday.
‘The port provides a vital artery bringing food, medicines and supplies to the country and its destruction will have devastating consequences.
‘The United Nations is assisting the immediate response to the incident. The International Maritime Organization stands ready to assist in any way we can.’
We at IHMA join IMO in sending our deepest condolences to the people of Lebanon at this difficult time
International Container Terminal Services, Inc (ICTSI) has signed the concession contract with the Port Autonome de Kribi (PAK) for the development, operation and maintenance of the Kribi Multipurpose Terminal (KMT) in Cameroon.
With the signing of the contract, KMT, a subsidiary of ICTSI, is now the official concessionaire of the multipurpose terminal for the next 25 years.
At the signing ceremony in the Southern region of Cameroon, Hans-Ole Madsen, ICTSI Senior Vice President and Regional Head for Europe, Middle East and Africa, thanked the Government of Cameroon and PAK for placing their trust in ICTSI. “ICTSI is very proud to partner with Cameroon and the Port of Kribi in the operation and development of the Kribi Multipurpose Terminal,” he said.
KMT is a newly built deep-water port located 150 kilometres south of Douala. Phase 1 consists of 265 + 63 metres of berth and a 10-hectare yard. Phase 2 will include an additional 350 metres of berth and 23 hectares of yard. Kribi port is surrounded by the Kribi Industrial Area, a 262 square-kilometre zone destined to accommodate new industrial and logistical developments supporting the growing Cameroonian economy.