PSA leads top 10 global terminal operators


PSA International, Hutchison Ports, APM Terminals, and DP World remain the top four global players, but their levels of activity vary, according to Drewry Maritime Research’s Annual Review of Global Container Terminals Operators.

The four were ranked by Drewry the biggest global container terminal operators for 2012 in terms of TEU (20-foot-equivalent unit). Bringing up the rest of the pack are, in order of ranking, Cosco Group in fifth place, Terminal Investment Limited (TIL), China Shipping Terminal Development, Hanjin, Evergreen, and Eurogate.

The report said that DP World and APM Terminals are highly active in acquisitions, divestments, and greenfield developments. Hutchison is moderately active, and PSA less so.

International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and TIL are also particularly active in portfolio expansion.

“There is a clear focus on growth opportunities in emerging markets by those global/international terminal operators which are expanding,” Drewry noted.

Major shipping lines, meanwhile, have been selling stakes in terminals to raise cash, but usually retaining majority control. The deals involving CMA CGM’s Terminal Link and MSC/TIL have been the most significant. Most carriers have seen little change in their terminal portfolios as a result, adopting a holding rather than expansion policy.

Several players not currently categorized by Drewry as global or international terminal operators are growing fast and have a strong appetite for international expansion, including China Merchants, Gulftainer, Bolloré, and Yildirim.

Others such as GPI, SAAM Ports, Ultramar, and Ports America are also making selected expansions or seeking to acquire, said Drewry. Certain key financial and infrastructure investors are also active, notably GIP and Mitsui.

“Within the global/international terminal operator club there are widely varying strategies and levels of activity,” said report editor Neil Davidson. “Some operators are very active with their portfolios whilst others are seeing little change.”

He predicted more merger and acquisition activities, especially in carrier-owned portfolios. At the same time, he noted a number of aggressive new players waiting in the wings, “some of which will soon qualify as global/international operators.”