World’s slowdown in 2009 had an impact on the activity of the main ports of Latin America and the Caribbean, starting with the biggest one of them, Santos in southeastern Brazil, points out the latest release from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Cepal.
According to the 2009 ranking of port activity with containers in the region, elaborated by Cepal Infrastructure Services Unit, the region’s main 20 ports recorded an overall contraction of 6.8% in the movement of containers compared to 2008. In some cases the fall recorded reached 30%.
However in spite of the contraction, the ports’ ranking did not experience many modifications compared to the 2008 list. In effect the list has Santos, Brazil in the top position with 2.25 million TEU (unit equivalent to a 20-ft container) which represented a downfall of 15.7% compared to the previous year.
Santos is followed by Colon and Balboa in Panama with 2.21 and 2 million TEU respectively. Both also contracted compared to 2008 (minus 10.44% and minus 7.2% respectively).
Of the Cepal list of 75 ports, only five recorded an increase in activity compared to the previous year, but in several cases the increase only results from the manipulation of empty containers.
Cartagena, Colombia, is the only port of “the million TEUs club.” which effectively managed to increase activity, 7.65%, compared to 2008.
According to Cepal the performance of the region’s ports is in line with what happened in the rest of the world, since the main global hubs also experienced similar reductions of container activity.
More specifically Buenos Aires port activity contracted 20.7% with the movement of containers falling from 1.781.000 TEUs to 1.412.462. Montevideo experienced a lesser fall, 12.86%, with the number of containers reaching 588.410 from 675.273 in 2008.
For more info: Ranking 2009 de actividad portuaria de contenedores en América Latina y el Caribe.
In related news CEPAL said that it could review the region’s growth forecast upwards from 4.1% because of the strong evolution of commodities’ prices and an overall promising start in 2010.
“It is possible that the 4.1% estimate could have to the increased” said Alicia Bárcena, Cepal chief executive during the World Economic Forum taking place in Colombia.
“We are looking at figures from the first quarter and there’s optimism. Mexico could finally grow 4%, up from the 3.5% forecast of December. Similarly Brazil is showing a sustained evolution performance above 5.5%”, said Barcena.
However she cautioned that in spite of the more positive signals “we are concerned with the degree of sustainability”.
The encouraging prospects compares with the negative performance of the region last year, minus 1.9%, mainly because of the world trade contraction.