APSN Launches the APEC Port Development Report 2021

May 27, 2022

The APEC Port Services NetworkAPSNlaunched the APEC Port Development Report 2021 recently on the APSN website. The APEC Port Development Report 2021 reviewed the development of global and Asia-Pacific economy and Trade, development of global ocean shipping industry, Asia-Pacific port development, and major shipping and ports events in Asia-Pacific region in 2021.

In terms of global economic and trade development, the Report noted that global economy picked up. In 2021, the world economy resumed activity in 2021, but economic downside risks continued to loom. According to the World Economic Outlook report released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in January 2022, the global economic growth rate in 2021 was 5.9%, growing by 9 percentage points and returning to the positive range from the negative growth in 2020, the worst hit year by the pandemic. The global economy showed an across-the-board recovery. Multiple economies rolled out financial support of considerable amounts. Although such policies unleashed consumer demand and helped resume production, the production and manufacturing activities in some economies were still clouded by repeated COVID-19 outbreaks, policy risks, and extreme weather, with the inflation risk intensifying. Therefore, the world economy in 2021 gradually flattened off after a strong recovery.

The Report also noted the growth of the Asia-Pacific economy rebounded significantly. In 2021, all economies actively expanded regional cooperation, sped up vaccination, and launched sustainable fiscal and monetary policies in 2021. Meanwhile, all economies also adopted a more comprehensive approach to enhance risk resilience. Therefore, the economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region picked up significantly. In terms of the share in the global economic aggregate, the Asia-Pacific region remains a major driver of the global economic growth, but its share has narrowed slightly to 61.6% from 62.2% in 2020.

In terms of development of maritime industry, the report focuses on the development of container, dry bulk and tanker markets globally and in the Asia-pacific region in 2021, and analyzes in detail the changes in shipping costs, changes in shipping laws and regulations, and the development trends of international shipping organizations.

The Report noted that the growth rate of global container shipping volume rebounded sharply, with the growth rate showing a downward trend throughout the year. The global container shipping volume in the year was 207 million TEUs, a year-on-year increase of 6.2%. From a monthly perspective, the container shipping growth rate showed a declining trend. In the first half of the year, due to the low base last year and the economic and trade recovery in 2022, the demand for container shipping continued to stay high, especially in April when the growth rate of seaborne shipping volume reached 21.5%. However, the growth rate started to fall quickly in the middle of the year, and hovered around 0% after July.

The Report also noted that seaborne container shipping volume in the Asia region edged up in 2021, benefiting from the recovering consumer demand in Europe and the United States, the container trade volume in Asia embraced a sound recovery. The annual container shipping volume was 63.55 million TEUs, a year-on-year increase of 6.9%, and the growth rate was slightly higher than that of the total global container shipping volume (6.0%). The share of the Asian region's container shipping volume in the global total also maintained a slow expansion trend, accounting for 30.8% of the total global container shipping volume in 2021, representing the highest share in terms of container shipping volume.

In terms of Asia-Pacific Port Development in 2021, the Report focuses on comprehensive service time efficiency evaluation of major container ports in the Asia-Pacific Region, port production, review of business performance of port enterprises, intermodal transport development of ports, port infrastructure construction, intelligent, green and safe development of ports, review and outlook of Asia-Pacific port congestion amid pandemic, and review of international port organization development.

The Report noted that in 2021, the cargo throughput of major ports in the world increased by 4.5% year-on-year, and the total volume exceeded the pre-pandemic level. The Report also noted that in 2021, against the backdrop of the rebounding growth in global commodity demand, the cargo throughput of the economies in the Asia-Pacific region basically returned to the pre-pandemic level, and the region's growth of imports and exports was better than that of the rest of the world. In 2021, the major ports of the Asia-Pacific economies handled a total of 16.43 billion tons of cargoes, an increase of 3.8% year-on-year, the growth rate being 4.3 percentage points higher than that in 2020.

In terms of major shipping and port events in the Asia-Pacific Region in 2021, the Report noted that major shipping and port events include 1) International container freight and index at record levels; 2) Ranking position changes of the world's largest container shipping company; 3)Supply chain chaos from Ever Given getting stuck in Suez Canal; 4) Expanded pilots on coastal carriage of foreign trade by China; 5) World's largest oil tanker operator in-the-making; 6) Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 soon to be updated for the first time; 7) The Guidelines on Cyber Security Onboard Ships updated to further enhance maritime cyber security risk management, 8) Emission reduction goal and path of shipping sector specified in MEPC 76; 9) Regulation enhancement by main shipping states in the Asia-Pacific region; and 10) Neptune Declaration jointly signed by shipping companies to guarantee seafarer well-being and crew change.

Published on an annual basis, the APEC Port Development Report focuses on the development of Asia-Pacific ports, covering trade, ocean shipping, port infrastructure and operation, laws and regulations, intelligent and sustainable development. With its detailed statistics and in-depth analysis, we hope the APEC Port Development Report could become a good reference for those engaging in port and related industries.