Asian container ports have marked the highest efficiency scores in the world, dominating the top-50 positions of the global efficiency ranking according to the new global Container Port Performance Index (CPPI) launched by the World Bank and data company IHS Markit.

The report scored ports against different metrics, making the efficiency ranking comparable around the globe by assessing and standardising for different ship sizes and container moves per call, according to a statement, while the CPPI is intended to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement that will benefit stakeholders from shipping lines to national governments and consumers.

“The development of high-quality and efficient container port infrastructure is a key contributor to successful, export-led growth strategies both in developing and developed countries”, said Martin Humphreys, lead transport economist and global lead for transport connectivity and regional integration in the World Bank, and he added, “Efficient ports also ensure business continuity and improve the resilience of the maritime gateways as crucial nodes in the global logistical system.”

Key port performance metrics such as minutes per container move show large discrepancies in global port efficiency, with top performers taking just 1.1 minutes on average to load or unload a container in a standard port call while the average for equivalent workloads in African ports is more than three times that at 3.6 minutes.

Using these accounting methods, the Port of Yokohama in Japan was found to be the most efficient port in the world, according to CPPI, with King Abdullah Port in Saudi Arabia and the Port of Qingdao in China also considered efficient.

Additionally, the Port of Algeciras in Spain was the highest-ranked European port and the last member of the world’s top-10. Meanwhile, Mexico’s Lazaro Cardenas leads the Americas in 25th position, while the Port of Halifax in Canada was the only North American port in the CCPI’s top-50. Regarding Africa, the Port of Djibouti was the most efficient port of the continent, ranking at the world’s 61st position.

Turloch Mooney, associate director, maritime and trade at IHS Markit commented, “Inefficient port operations have a very direct impact on supplies across the country and their populations. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw port delays causing shortages of essential goods and higher prices. Over the longer term such bottlenecks can mean slower economic growth, higher costs for importers and exporters and even resulting in less employment.”

The Container Port Performance Index is based on total port hours per ship call, defined as the elapsed time between when a ship reaches a port to its departure from the berth having completed its cargo exchange.

Greater or lesser workloads are accounted for by examining the underlying data within 10 different call size ranges. Five distinct ship size groups are accounted for in the methodology given the potential for greater fuel and emissions savings on larger vessels.

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