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Singapore 2015 box throughput dips 8.7% on decreased Asia-Europe volumes

Singapore 2015 box throughput dips 8.7% on decreased Asia-Europe volumes
The port of Singapore saw its container throughput contract by 8.7% in 2015 amid the overall slowdown in the global shipping market, made worse by lower Asia-Europe volumes and increased direct sailings on lower bunker prices.

Singapore port moved a total throughput of 30.9m teu in 2015, a drop of 8.7% compared to 33.9m teu in 2014, according to preliminary estimates released by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

The Chinese port of Shanghai, on the other hand, put up a stellar performance on the back of the shipping slump and recorded a throughput of 36.54m teu, representing a 3.5% improvement from 2014 volumes, and retaining its crown as the world’s busiest container port.

The drop in Singapore throughput, according to MPA, was “largely caused by the overall slump in Asia-Europe volumes, compounded by developments such as the rebalancing of volumes across alliances agreements, and an increase in direct sailings due to lower bunker prices.”

Singapore’s success as a world-leading container port is mainly due to transhipment volumes. About 85% of the containers that arrive in Singapore are transhipped to another port of call, unlike Shanghai port that mainly serves importers and exporters for the growing Chinese economy.

Bunker fuel prices today have fallen by approximately 40% compared to the year-ago period, with global benchmark grade Singapore 380 cst indicated at $155.50 per metric tonne (pmt) on Wednesday, according to data from Ship & Bunker.

Low bunker prices have been the glimmer of light for shipowners who have been operating in a challenging market of suppressed freight rates, oversupply of tonnage, and an uncertain global economic growth.

Despite contracted container throughput for Singapore port, its bunker market continues to be the global runaway leader posting sales of 45.2m tonnes, a 6.5% increase compared to 42.4m tonnes in 2014.

Shipowners and charterers remain attracted to purchasing their bunker fuels in Singapore port due to its competitive prices and efficient services.

In an effort to help shipowners tide through the difficult operating environment, MPA announced on Wednesday that Singapore will grant an additional 10% concession on port dues for containerships calling at the port. The new concession will start from 15 January and be in place for one year.