Port movement decreased 9.3% in five months

in News · 25-07-2020 12:00:00 · 0 Comments

Mainland ports handled 34.2 million tons of cargo between January and May this year, representing a 9.3 percent decrease compared to the global volume registered in the same period in 2019, was revealed on 15 July.

In a statement released on 15 July, the Mobility and Transport Authority (AMT) explains the "sharp drop" in port activity with the covid-19 pandemic and the calamity that worsened "significantly the port movement in May", a month in which the cargo handled fell 29 percent compared to the same month of 2019.

According to AMT, most ports recorded decreases in cargo tonnage, which amounted to less than 3.49 million tons, with Sines (9.27 percent ??less) and Lisbon (23.2 percent less) being responsible for a total break of 2.9 million tons, which represents approximately 80 percent of the breaks.

Setúbal (minus 6.4 percent), Leixões (minus 5 percent) and Aveiro (minus 4.4 percent) also registered declines between January and May, a period where only the smaller ports, Faro, Figueira da Foz and Viana do Castelo had a growth of 27.1 percent, 12.1 and 1.6 percent, respectively.

The loads, according to the AMT, were "clearly penalised by the pandemic crisis" that caused a slowdown in industrial activity in the country.

The crude oil and petroleum products operations in Leixões and Sines were the main responsible for the global drop in port handling registered in this period, where there was a sharp drop in the demand for fuels in the national and international markets.

In April and May alone, oil products in the ports of Leixões and Sines registered a decrease of 938.9 thousand tons, which corresponds to a drop of 28.1 percent in relation to the same period of 2019.

The 'ro-ro' cargo, which translates to any type of cargo that embarks and disembarks to roll on its own wheels or equipment designed for the purpose, was severely impacted by the pandemic, through the temporary suspension of production in the automotive industry between mid-March and late April, especially at Autoeuropa, in Palmela, and at PSA, in Mangualde, which resulted in a decrease in car exports and, consequently, in the respective port movement in Setúbal and Leixões.

“Not directly related to the pandemic outbreak of covid-19”, AMT points out that the behaviour of the coal market in Sines (minus 1.54 million tons) and that of containerised cargo in Lisbon (minus 783.3 thousand tons) were the ones that most contributed to the overall negative performance of the continent's port system, representing, together, 53.7 percent of the total of 4.3 million tons lost.

Thus, after registering a global decrease of 9.7 percent between January and May, the port of Sines again has a share below half the national total (49.3 percent, minus 0.3 compared to the same period in 2019), after having recovered, after two years, the 'absolute majority' in the first four months of this year, when it reached a 50.8 percent share.

Following are the ports of Leixões (23 percent), Lisbon (10.5 percent), Setúbal (7.9 percent), Aveiro (6.2 percent), Figueira da Foz (2.4 percent), Viana do Castelo (0.5 percent) and Faro (0.1 percent).

In global terms, the port of Sines shows positive variations only in the crude oil market (10.2 percent) and in the residual cargo 'ro-ro' (3.7 percent), which, however, represents only 0.1 percent volume handled in the Alentejo port.

Leixões, in turn, recorded positive variations in the containerised cargo market (4.7 percent), the best brand ever in the same periods, as well as in fractioned cargo (0.9 percent), ores (16.3 percent), being penalised in petroleum products (23.1 percent less) and in the segment of other solid bulk (16.5 percent less).

In turn, Lisbon recorded a positive change only in agricultural products (5.7 percent), being strongly penalised in containerised cargo (41.3 percent less) and in other solid bulk (30.5 percent less), with the remaining segments to lose 149.3 thousand tons.

The port of Setúbal shows positive results in containerised cargo (5.9 percent), minerals (7.8 percent), agricultural products (11.3 thousand tons in a segment with no record of movements in 2019) and oil products (8.5 percent).

In Aveiro, the other solid bulk (5.2 percent), fractional cargo (3.4 percent) and other liquid bulk (0.7 percent) stood out positively, the highest ever in the same periods , but the market for petroleum products fell by 40.7 percent and that of agricultural products fell by 10.7 percent.

In the same period from January to May this year, the container segment fell 6.6 percent compared to the same period in 2019, despite the positive performance of the ports of Leixões (3.4 percent) and Setúbal (7.9 percent) in this sector.

The negative record of containers is therefore based on the negative fluctuations in Lisbon (40.9 percent), Figueira da Foz (24.7 percent) and Sines (2.1 percent).

Still in this market, AMT states that the port of Sines maintains the leadership at the national level with 56.3 percent of the movements, followed by Leixões (27 percent), Lisbon (10 percent), Setúbal (6.1 percent) and Figueira da Foz (0.6 percent).

Also in relation to the number of ship calls of all types, the set of national ports registered 3,970 calls in the first five months of this year, which represents a decrease of 498 calls (9.7 percent) compared to the same period of 2019 and gross tonnage of around 71.9 million, 14.6 percent less than in the same period of the previous year.

AMT justifies this decline with the “strongly conditioned by Lisbon” behaviour, which saw the number of stopovers drop by 29 percent (304 in total), which is explained by the smaller number of ships operating cargo and also by the cancellation of 121 cruise ship stopovers that were scheduled between mid-March and May, when the state of emergency and calamity prevailed.

Portimão (minus 17 stopovers) and Douro and Leixões (minus 49 stops) also registered decreases, while only Figueira da Foz (plus 20 stopovers) and Faro (six more stopovers) counteracted the negative trend.

The ports of Douro and Leixões have the highest share of calls in the total of the five months, with 26 percent, followed by Sines (21.1 percent), Lisbon (18.8 percent), Setúbal (16.2 percent), Aveiro (10.3 percent) and Figueira da Foz (5 percent).

With regard to the shipping flow, which includes export cargo, the negative behaviour is influenced by the performance of the containerised cargo markets in Lisbon, oil products in Leixões and other solid bulk in Lisbon and Setúbal, with a decrease of 1.04 million tons (66 percent of the total shipment cargo lost).

In unloading operations, AMT highlights the negative behaviour of coal, responsible for 50.9 percent of losses, but also oil products in Sines (14 percent) and containerised cargo in Lisbon (7.8 percent).

Crude oil, in Sines, is the most positive influence, representing 35.3 percent of total increases.

Finally, AMT concludes that Faro (100 percent), Viana do Castelo (70.9 percent), Figueira da Foz (63.1 percent) and Setúbal (50.9 percent) are ports with a “port profile exporter".


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