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            october 22, 2019

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Major carriers look for cheaper Med transshipment ports


Geneva's Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has criticised the Port of Valencia, threatening to shift its transshipment hub - 70 per cent of its port volume - because better deals exist elsewhere, reports the UK's Port Strategy.
MSC is reportedly considering a switch to the southern Italian Port of Gioia Tauro, which has slashed prices after Maersk announced that it would no longer use it as a transhipment hub, opting to transfer its transit cargo to Malta where it has a deal with CMA CGM.
In explanation, Maersk would only say that it is "constantly looking for more attractive products and cost reductions to adapt to market dynamics".
Terminal Investment Limited (TIL), the de facto terminal arm of MSC, also took a stake in the now chastened Gioia Tauro's Medcenter terminal, and seems ready use it as its Mediterranean transhipment hub.
While Gioia Tauro has a reputation for labour unrest, the port is also one of the Calabria's few big employers. After the Maersk departure announcement, state regulated anchorage rates were cut 90 per cent and crane productivity has reportedly increased 20 per cent averaging 30 moves per hour, said the report.
Valencia, Spain's biggest container port, has failed to match cost and productivity levels offered by hard-marketing Barcelona, which is close to France, and is now linked with a rapid euro-gauge rail line into the consumer-rich French interior.
The Valencia dockers' union has long resisted MSC demands for cheaper and better service because it means foregoing traditional perks. But MSC is adamant, said the report, and has publicly announced that Valencia might well lose 70 per cent of its existing transshipment volume within eight years unless severe cost cutting is applied.

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