By 2018 it is predicted that the world’s logistics ports will be able to handle 840M teu per year. That is an acceleration of growth from present 642m teu in 2014 and 674m teu expected for 2015. This 2018 forecast is double than the 363m teu of 2004. Strong profit levels and faster traffic growth are the combination that is bringing in the power players to get into the container terminal operator business. The 11th Global Container Terminal Operators Annual Review and Forecast delivered this report.
Africa and greater China are the areas which will see the most accelerated growth.
An average annual growth rate of 5.6% is expected in the next five years compared to the 3.4% in 2013. These predictions point to a boost upward of 67% to 75% of average terminal utilization in 2018. These figures have brought a strong activity in getting new market entrants and revived interest in acquisition activity in the container ports sector. Investors are particularly revving up as they are attracted by standard EBITDA margins of between 20% and 45%. Actually both new additions to the league table of terminal operators expecting to go global are Merchants of China Holdings International and Bollore’ Group. Both have been growing aggressively and China Merchants Holdings International further acquisitions are expected.
In addition, other operators such as Gulftainer and Vilport are both rapidly expanding and are contenders for inclusion in the league table. PSA is the top contender leading the table based primarily on virtue of its scale and 20% stake in Hutchison Port Holdings a close second. APM Terminals comes in third and DP World last. The report points to 2018 and it is expected that both HPH and APM Terminals are head to head in regard of capacity employed.
In the emerging markets, the most portfolio expansion will occur through Greenfield or brownfield terminals led by APM Terminals, International Container Terminal Services, HPH, and DP World. Analysts say that the terminal operators business are facing several industry changing trends.