Vessel Arrivals Increased at Asia Transshipment Hubs
Feb. 28, 2020
As many US importers have shifted sourcing regions from China to other countries in Asia to minimize costs and mitigate risk during uncertain times, vessel schedules have shifted as well. To analyze the impact, we compared the performance of seven key Asia transshipment hubs in the second half of 2018 and 2019. We reviewed the number of vessel arrivals, vessel arrival delays, and vessel sizes at the ports of Busan, Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, Port Klang, Singapore, Tanjung Pelepas, and Gwangyang.
Comparing July through December in 2018 and 2019, there were 26% more vessel arrivals in the second half of 2019 than 2018 at the seven key Asia transshipment hubs. The sharp rise reflects an increase in complexity as more vessels go through transshipment hubs.
Fewer Potential Missed Transshipment Connections in July to October 2019
Next we reviewed vessel arrival delays. While the overall monthly average vessel arrival delay in the later part of 2018 and 2019 was under 24 hours, vessel arrival delays ranged from less than one day to eight days. Vessels that arrive three or more days late are likely to miss their connecting vessels through a transshipment hub. We found that 10% of vessel arrivals in the second half of 2019 were two or more days late through the port hubs.
Looking at the distribution of delays more closely, we found that in 2019, the number of vessel arrival delays that were three or more days late dropped 61%, 20%, and 35% year-on-year in July, August, and September respectively. Although the same number of vessels arrived more than three days late in October 2018 and 2019, the percentage of the total vessel arrivals was 2% fewer in 2019.
Increase in Vessels with Capacity Fewer Than 4,000 TEU
When we look at the vessel size distribution, the number of vessel arrivals with a capacity less than 4,000 TEU went up 23% to 46% in the second half of 2019 compared to the prior year. The smaller vessels contributed 65% to 69% of the total vessel arrivals from July to December 2019, this was a 3% increase compared with 2018 and 2019. The number of vessel arrivals with a TEU capacity of 4,001-6,999, 7,000-9,999, and >10,000 also increased in 2019, but the percentage of the total number of vessel arrivals dropped 1% to 2% in 2019.
Improvement of Schedule Reliability Beneficial for Transshipments
Although the number of vessel arrivals increased, vessel arrival delays did not go worse in the second half of 2019. Most of the vessels arrived at the transshipment hubs on time. The increase in small vessels also reveals that transshipment activities were becoming more active in the second half of 2019. The improvement of schedule reliability may help to reduce the risk of missed connections.