Another reason for the low growth in 2015 is the realignment of certain container
Some of the world’s major container ports act as important
hubs for the industry. They are the places where containers are loaded from
(usually large) ships to other (smaller) ships. This process is known as
transhipment. These feeder ships, as they are called, transport goods to their
final destination. The loading of a container from one ship to another at a port is
counted twice in the container throughput statistics. A rising share of
transhipments therefore increases overall container throughput. In 2015, the
importance of transhipment dwindled at some of these hubs. Instead, ships
increasingly travelled directly to small and medium-sized ports, which had a
negative impact on container throughput.
The most striking example in 2015
was the Port of Singapore, the world’s largest transhipment port in container
shipping, often with a transhipment rate of over 80%. Here, container throughput
fell by 8.7% in 2015.