There is no doubt that among terminal operators the big get bigger and the global share of container throughput among the top ten is rising, nevertheless it is a new generation of terminal operators that are making waves. And given time it might turn out to be a tsunami’s worth of throughput.
There are a number of examples of just how quick a small operator can be a global mainstay. Manila based-ICTSI was founded in 1987 and didn’t open its first foreign concession until 1994 (Terminal 5 Port of Buenos Aires, Argentina). In 2015 ICTSI handled nearly 7.8 million TEUs from thirty terminal concessions. This places the company in the top fifteen as a terminal operator. A feat accomplished in under thirty years or roughly the average length of time of a concession. Their rapid expansion was accomplished by developing terminals in emerging markets, in one respect skipping around the mega-terminal operators and looking for opportunities with few competitors.
Kicking off the Future?
SIPG (Shanghai International Port Group), founded in 2003 (listed on Shanghai stock exchange in 2006), is a little different as it is the “municipal” terminal operator for the Port of Shanghai (initially a state controlled and CMSN company). This meant it was almost immediately a major player and in 2015 handled nearly 18 million TEUs out of Shanghai’s leading 36.5 million TEUs. Nearly all SIPG’s development is concentrated in the Shanghai region, but this could very well change launching SIPG as a global group to be reckoned with. Oddly it begins with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar (see AJOT Matt Guasco blog). Qatar plans to build nine new stadiums and renovate three existing facilities spreading the games among twelve venues in seven cities.
In July Qatar signed an MOU (Cooperative Framework Agreement) with Shanghai Port. Under the agreement, a trade center in Qatar would also be maintained not only to coordinate the distribution of cargo for the World Cup but also to serve as a resource for the countries’ other building projects. The main resource is a new 600-acre SIPG built Yangshan Port and is scheduled to be the primary staging area for World Cup activity in China. The question is whether this becomes the staging area for global investment by SIPG.
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