Container traffic up by solid 17.2% in March

Container traffic at the Port of Singapore rose strongly last month. Overall cargo tonnage handled climbed 6.3 per cent year on year to hit 52.6 million, while the total number of vessels that called rose 4.5 per cent to 12,318.
Container traffic at the Port of Singapore rose strongly last month. Overall cargo tonnage handled climbed 6.3 per cent year on year to hit 52.6 million, while the total number of vessels that called rose 4.5 per cent to 12,318.ST FILE PHOTO

Total box throughput for quarter is 7.6m TEUs, a rise of 3% over same period last year

Container traffic rose strongly at the Port of Singapore last month to hit 2.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

This is up a solid 17.2 per cent from the 2.3 million TEUs in February, and 6.9 per cent higher than the 2.5 million TEUs in March last year.

It brings total box throughput for the first quarter of this year to 7.6 million TEUs - a 3 per cent increase over the 7.4 million TEUs from the same period in 2016, according to preliminary estimates by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) yesterday.

Overall cargo tonnage handled last month climbed 6.3 per cent year on year to hit 52.6 million, while the total number of vessels that called here rose 4.5 per cent to 12,318.

The Port of Singapore, which is the world's top bunkering port, sold about 4.3 million tonnes of bunker fuel last month, up 4.6 per cent from the same time a year ago.

Ocean Shipping Consultants director Jason Chiang said the strong showing in March's container numbers was likely thanks to French shipping giant CMA CGM, which began shifting its volumes here at the start of last month.

The world's No. 3 container shipping line has been taking steps to boost its presence in Singapore following its $3.38 billion buyout of Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines.

UPBEAT ON PROSPECTS

You'd probably see a repeat of March's performance in the next few months - pretty good numbers.

OCEAN SHIPPING CONSULTANTS DIRECTOR JASON CHIANG, on what to expect in the coming months with French shipping giant CMA CGM beginning to shift its volumes here at the start of last month.

"You'd probably see a repeat of March's performance in the next few months - pretty good numbers," said Mr Chiang.

CMA CGM announced late last month that it had doubled the overall operating capacity of the terminal it jointly runs with PSA at Pasir Panjang to four million TEUs.

Mr Jean-Yves Duval, the group's senior vice-president of Asia, also said then that 28 CMA CGM services will call at Singapore each week from April - of which more than two-thirds are being diverted from other ports, including Port Klang in Malaysia.

CMA CGM is part of the new Ocean Alliance with China Cosco Shipping, Evergreen Line and Orient Overseas Container Line, which kicked off operations this month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2017, with the headline 'Container traffic up by solid 17.2% in March'. Print Edition | Subscribe