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Port Hedland and Jebel Ali Port defy global slowdown in cargo trend

Port Hedland and Jebel Ali Port defy global slowdown in cargo trend article image

Iron ore exports from Australia's Port Hedland jumped 7 per cent in May to a record monthly high, driven by increased shipments to China, the world's biggest consumer of the steelmaking commodity. 

Exports totalled 38 million tonnes in May, up from 35.4 million tonnes in April, the local port authority said. May exports were also 5 per cent higher than the corresponding period of 2014. 

Port Hedland is the world's biggest bulk-export terminal.

Shipments to China increased 5 per cent on-month to 31.7 million tons, while exports to Japan jumped 66 per cent to 2.1 million tons. 

The growth at the largest ports in the world set a slow pace in the first quarter of the year, with a weakened global economy and weak productivity impacting most players negatively.

Jebel Ali Port in the UAE was one of a handful of world ports to defy the trend.

According to a new analysis from Shanghai International Shipping Institute (SISI), the world’s top ten ports by cargo throughput saw growth in the first quarter of 2015 of just 1.8%, which was the lowest combined performance in more than five years.

Stagnant US growth

"In Q1, global economy continued the slow growth in the previous quarter, mirroring a sluggish and uneven recovery,” writes SISI. "The European market sped up its recovery, but the overall performance of developed economies presented a downtrend as affected by stagnant US growth.”

Only three ports of 100 million tons or over could note a growth of five percent or more measured year-on-year. These included Chinese Tianjin, Rotterdam and Australia’s Port Hedland.

Tianjin benefited from a new strategy from the authorities in Beijing and noted the biggest growth among Chinese ports, according to the analysis.

While Jebel Ali is not in the top ten ports in the world (according to the Shanghai International Shipping Institute), it is the largest port outside Asia and is ranked as the ninth busiest port by the JOC. 

Gross container volumes in the Asia Pacific and India Subcontinent regions grew 1.7% to 6.8-million-teu, but Europe, Middle East and Africa, which includes the UAE ports, rose 9.2% to 6.4-million-teu.

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