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Cosco Shipping Ports volumes up 3.5% to 8m teu in July, HK port down 11%

Cosco Shipping Ports volumes up 3.5% to 8m teu in July, HK port down 11%
Container throughput at China-focussed port operator Cosco Shipping Ports rose 3.5% in July to 8m teu from 7.2m teu in the previous corresponding period.

The Hong Kong-based company which used to be called Cosco Pacific and has since been renamed as part of the parent Cosco Group's reorganisation, saw growth in the usual segments as well as benefits from its internationalisation drive, with good contributions from its steadily building portfolio of overseas ports.

The key Bohai Rim region continued to drive volumes with the highest throughput and good growth of 3.5% to 2.8m teu from 2.7m teu previously.

The Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta segments continued to stutter, with volumes falling 3.7% and 3.9% to 1.5m teu and 2.1m teu respectively. The long slow hollowing out of traditional manufacturing centres and trading patterns suggests that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile the newer ports in the Southeast Coast and Southwest Coasts continue to ramp up, with throughput at the former growing 15% to 381,700 teu and volumes at the latter, which primarily consists of the Guangxi Qinzhou International Container Terminal, spiking 54% to 90,100 teu from just 58,600 teu in July 2015.

Although these are being developed from relatively lower bases the potential seems obvious with consistently high growth rates throughout the year, suggesting where the manufacturing bases and trade patterns might be shifting too.

Finally, the group's efforts to broaden its network of overseas ports is also paying off with growth from this international segment coming in at 28% to 1.1m teu from 868,300 teu previously.

Separately, the port of Hong Kong in its usual monthly update of port statistics showed a continued slide in July to 1.64m teu. The 11% drop from 1.84m teu in July 2015 was the second steepest slide in monthly volumes since the 21% drop in February at the lowest point of the traditional Lunar New Year slowdown period.

Cosco Shipping Ports' Hong Kong terminals Cosco-HIT and Asia Container Terminal both showed this drop starkly with volumes at the former falling 12% to 122,100 teu and a whopping 40% at the latter to just 67,700 teu. Among the groups ports in the Pearl River Delta region established terminals such as Yantian International Container Terminals also saw volumes fall by 6% to 1.1m teu and 3% at Nansha to 435,000 teu. Only the relatively newer Guangzhou South China Oceangate Container Terminal saw outstanding growth of 18% to 411,600 teu.

The main Kwai Tsing terminals saw a 5% drop in volumes to 1.29m teu from 1.35m teu previously while at the non-Kwai Tsing terminals throughput fell 29% to 350,000 teu from 491,000 teu in July 2015.