All around the world, people inside and outside of the shipping industry are talking about the arrival of enormous container ships, some of which are capable of transporting a full cargo load of 18,000+ TEU. What the awestruck conversation does not include is the sizable port investment needed to accommodate the (approximately) 400 meter vessels.
Unbeknownst to most, the new gigantic ships – nearly the length of four football fields laid end to end, have created logistic demands that many ports were unprepared for. From dredging channels and harbors, to bigger ship-to-shore cranes, improved roads, railways and infrastructure, port operators are (in many cases) struggling to meet the increasing demands of container shipping lines.
With a draft of nearly 16 meters (53 feet), the world’s largest container ships need additional room to manoeuvre through shipping channels and into harbors and ports. Using Dredgers to deepening waterways carries with it a sizable investment, that can challenge ports with a multi-million dollar price tag.
U.S. lawmakers are set to agree on a bill to authorize up to $12.5 billion for dredging U.S. harbors and waterways, flood control and environmental restoration. The Lawmakers have already begun negotiations to merge House and Senate water resource bills passed earlier this year with rare bipartisan agreement.
Ship to Shore Cranes
Not only are the new container shipping vessels long, they are also incredibly wide. With a beam of nearly 60 meters (194 feet), many of the world’s ports’ existing cranes are unable to reach all the way across these mammoth ships. At a cost of tens-of-millions-of-dollars, and months of preparation, a new ship to shore crane is a sizable investment in time and money. This is something not many ports are fortunate to have.
Liebherr Maritime Cranes is one of the companies enjoying the increased investment and competition between ports which the shipping industry is witnessing. In Latin America for instance, the company has recently received orders for seven additional mobile harbour cranes following a remarkable success achieved in 2013 in the same region, receiving 12 orders in only 12 months …
More containers on shipping vessels means more equipment to move them, more space to store them, more railway cars to deliver them and more planning to accommodate them. As you can imagine, the only way to meet these demands is more money.
In Russia, a new study recently released, suggested that Russian ports will see a doubling of their cargo volume by the year 2030; with an expected increase of container volumes of up to 5.5 times in the same time period. This prediction has forced the Russian government to take a focused look at what is going to be required, with regards to port, transportation and infrastructure investments to facilitate the anticipated growth.
Analysts the world over agree that investing in shipping ports is good for regional economies, as well as the global economy. This is supported by governments and officials on every continent, who continue to make strong commitments, in both their actions and investment dollars.