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Giant ships put pressure on South American ports

The rate of ever-larger ships on the north and southbound container route has, according to APM Terminals, surpassed even the most optimistic expectations, reports the Journal of Commerce.

Published 26.09.14 at 13:39

Hamburg Süd's new container ships, the so-called Cap San class (photo), with a capacity of 9,700 teu each - making them the largest reefer vessels in the world - seem to illustrate the current pressure on the several South American ports that are feeling the explosive growth in ship sizes.

"Everyone talks about the increase in the size of ships in the east-west trades, but on a percentage basis, the biggest increases have been in the north-south trades," Neil Davidson, senior analyst for ports and terminals at Drewry Maritime Research, tells Journal of Commerce.

According to Joe Nicklaus Nielsen, APM Terminals Global Head of Business Development, the ports in Latin America are generally not prepared for the carriers' continuing upgrade of ships' sizes.

"The speed of the growth has overtaken even the most optimistic expectations," Joe Nicklaus Nielsen tells the Journal of Commerce.

The size of container ships calling in the ports in South America has grown an average of 140 percent since 2006, says Drewry according to the journal.

The rapid growth is visible in numerous places.

In Brazil, the most obvious example is South America's biggest port, Port of Santos, where the process of expanding the fairway from 11 to 15 meters has been delayed, to great dismay for container carriers. 

In Chile, container trade in the country's biggest port grew 15.1 percent from 2012 to 2013.

Hamburg Süd - Cap San Nicolas.jpg

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