The JOC Launches a New Tool to Benchmark Port Productivity

Faster services, upsurges in cargo transported, quicker turn-around time…increased efficiency is the answer.


Port efficiency ranks high on the priority list for ocean carriers and shippers alike, as it benefits more than just the ocean carriers’ bottom line – it can affect global supply chains. Getting ships in and out of port quickly is critical for ocean carriers seeking to take maximum opportunity of slow-steaming while keeping their ships on schedule. Over the past 30 years, the size of container vessels has steadily increased; In the 1980s, the average containership carried just 1,600 containers. As that number currently continues to increase tenfold and as fuel prices remain high, slow-steaming is becoming entrenched as the industry norm with growing attention on berth productivity.

More than 5 years ago, The Journal of Commerce began collecting productivity for individual ports and terminals by obtaining this data from carriers. One-by-one, carriers agreed to share their operating data confidentially — the time their ships arrived and departed and the number of moves achieved during that time at the terminals they call globally, down to the individual vessel call. Currently 17 carriers, representing a large share of the cargo transported globally, are contributing to this project.

The data is aggregated, standardized and validated for over 450 ports and 650 terminals worldwide. The data allows ports, terminals, investors and others with an interest in terminal productivity to benchmark productivity against other terminals and ports, identify possible berth-turn-around time issues, analyze performance, isolate cost savings, optimize operations and assist in making solid investment decisions. Port Productivity data provides:

  • Berth Productivity by Ship Size
  • Productivity by Terminal
  • Productivity by Port, by Region
  • Berth Productivity by TEU Range
  • Berth Productivity by Call Size (# of Moves)
  • Berth Productivity (TEU Range) by Location
  • Berth Productivity (Call Size) by Location

Port Productivity Ranking by Region

The above chart shows that container ports in North Asia, a region including China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, consistently handled more total containers per hour than any other region in 2011 and 2012. North Asian ports collectively surpassed more than 70 gross moves per hour in 2012, an increase over the 67 recorded for 2011. The second most productive port region in 2012 was the Middle East, with 62 moves recorded on average per hour, an improvement on 2011’s total of 58. Last year, North American port productivity slipped to 47 moves an hour, causing the region to slip to a fourth-place tie with the Indian subcontinent.

Port Productivity can provide insight to performance trends and issues, the support needed to improve efficiency. Those interested should Contact the JOC .


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