Perspectives On Third World Port Development
Within the last decade, containerization has transformed the appearance and operations of many ports in the developed world and has established a dominant position on virtually all deepsea general cargo routes between industrial nations. Despite some significant developments recently on routes to the Caribbean and Middle East, its impact on the ports and trade of the Third World generally remains limited.
There are widespread doubts on the applicability of this sophisticated, capital-intensive system to the needs and resources of less developed countries, and the spread of containerization into the Third World arena is being fiercely resisted by more conventional forms of shipping (and in the Middle East by ro/ro). The most likely challenger on many routes is the modern multipurpose vessel — c o m b i n i n g costsaving series production with trading flexibility. Western shipowners and Third World national lines alike are confirming their faith in the future of these modern successors to earlier conventional tonnage by ordering them in large numbers. Will multipurpose ships succeed in halting the spread of container systems to the Third World? Or will the sceptics again be confounded (as they were by the rapid advance of containerization in the Western World a few years ago) ?
These and related questions are of great interest to investors, vessel operators and Third World port authorities and governments.
"Perspectives on Third World Port Development," the latest in a long line of studies from HPD Shipping Publications, examines the factors involved and seeks to provide some answers.
Part I of the study reviews current problems in Third World ports, including congestion which, while it has been most dramatic in OPEC ports, is proving to be more endemic and long-lasting in the ports of the poorer developing countries. Congestion, to which under-investment is a contributing factor, is matched on the other side by the dangers of investing in the wrong sort of port facilities or of committing large amounts of capital too soon—e.g., to specialized container terminals which may remain grossly underutilized for several years. Either mistake can have near disastrous consequences for a developing country's trade and economic development.
To establish the correct context for decisions on port investment and appropriate shipping technologies, the report reviews distinguishing features of Third World general cargo trade, existing port facilities, capital and labor endowments, inland transport i n f r a s t r u c t u r e , and planning and managerial resources.
In Part II, the report goes on to compare the two main contenders for the deepsea general cargo traffic of developing countries— modern multipurpose shipping and fully cellular systems.
Semi-containerships (an intermediate l i f t - o n / l i f t - o f f shipping mode) are also examined. The significant features of each system are analyzed, including vessel characteristics and costs, compatibility with Third World trade flows, and drafts compared with depths of water in Third World ports. Port terminal requirements and costs are contrasted. One finding is that the level of containerizable traffic required to justify individual cellular services is considerably below that justifying investment in a specialized container terminal. The potential contribution of multipurpose berths, and other ways of bridging this gap—common in Third World ports—are assessed.
The report identifies the current stage of container terminal development in developing countries and reviews plans for further cient inland transport. Delays in returning containers to the port can easily make the whole system uncompetitive through their effect on the required box:containership slot ratio. Other factors, such as trade imbalances and consequences of containerization for port employment may be less of a constraint than is commonly supposed. The report contrasts the implications of containerization and multipurpose shipping for inland transport, dock labor and port planning and management.
Developing countries are frequently criticized for investing too much in national fleet development and not enough in improved port facilities. Part III of the study investigates the facts behind this apparent bias and reveals the crucial importance of the distribution of benefits from port investment. Most of the benefits from improved port facilities flow initially to vessel operators who may see cargohandling costs and turnaround times for existing ships reduced, or may be able to operate larger, more sophisticated vessels (such as containerships) as a consequence of the port improvements.
Developing countries may shun major port investment, with its sizable demands on limited capital resources and possible adverse effects on port employment, unless they are assured of a share of the overall benefits which the investment brings. This will principally depend on port pricing policies, the rate-making practices of liner conferences and market elasticities—all topics which are covered in this 90-page study, which concludes by suggesting how the right balance between general cargo ports and shipping investment can be achieved.
"Perspectives on Third World Port Development," No. 54 in a series of reports on various aspects of shipping prepared by the Research Division of HPD Shipping Publications, 34 Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1Y 2LL, England, is available at a single copy rate of U.S. $75, or on a subscription basis at U.S.
$275 for the current series of reports Nos. 51-60.
specialized f a c i l i t i e s . Another finding is the importance of effi-
Other stories from September 15, 1977 issue
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- Bethlehem Steel Names G.Y. Marriner Manager San Francisco Yard page: 7
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- SNAME New York Section Announces Program For 1977/1978 Season page: 8
- Marathon Manufacturing Adds $61 Million To Drilling Rig Backlog page: 9
- Role Of Ro/Ro Shipping In Dry Cargo Trade page: 12
- Port Of New Orleans Presents Key To City To Egyptian Official page: 13
- Morris Guralnick Associates, Inc. Name Hubert E. Russell page: 14
- Hillman-Designed New Class Towboat Delivered To Exxon At Baton Rouge page: 19
- $45-Million Subsidy Repayment Approved page: 23
- Bethlehem Steel Shipbuilding Names Roland V. Danielson —Hollinshead De Luce Retires page: 26
- Perspectives On Third World Port Development page: 30
- Farrell Sale And Leaseback Agreement Approved By MarAd page: 32
- Delta Steamship Names Badger And Collins page: 32
- CCN Of Brazil Launches New Type Bulk Carrier page: 33
- 51st Annual Propeller Club Convention And 1977 American Merchant Marine Conference Set For Galveston, Texas, Oct. 10, 11, 12, 13 And 14 page: 34
- Bulletin Describes Heavy-Duty Oil Filtration Systems page: 35
- Eight-Page Brochure Describes National's Fully Hydraulic Cranes page: 35
- Todd Shipyards Los Angeles Division Lays Keel For First Of Six U.S. Navy Frigates page: 38
- MacGregor Slewing Ramps Successfully Tested page: 39
- Skagit Corporation Announces European Dealership Agreement page: 40
- FMC Marine & Rail Lays Keel For Ro/Ro Barge To Carry 374 Forty-Foot Truck Trailers page: 40
- Egyptian Shipyard Receives License To Build Willard Boats page: 42
- Bergeron Industries Names Captain Tatman page: 42
- Port Authorities (AAPA) 66th Annual Convention Set For Mexico City page: 43
- Tanker Design Change Approved By MSB page: 44
- Mitsubishi Receives Tug Barge Systems' License To Build page: 46
- Norshipco Dedicates New $5-Million Repair Pier page: 47
- Fetzner Named President Sun Trading & Marine page: 48
- Jane's Fighting Ships 1977-78 Revised Edition page: 49
- Stanford Research Awarded $271,000 For Firefighting Study page: 50
- Renegotiation Board Erred In Computing Lockheed Steel Usage page: 51
- Pott Industries Names Miller VP Offshore Marine Services Div. page: 54
- Capt. James F. McNulty New Dean At Maine Maritime Academy page: 56
- Richard Daschbach Named Federal Maritime Commission Chairman page: 57
- Keene Brochure Describes Marine Discharge Control System page: 57