India’s Visakhapatnam Port Breaks into Top 20 Container Ports Worldwide

State-owned Visakhapatnam Port has made its debut in the top 20 rankings of the Container Port Performance Index 2023 (CPPI 2023), created by the World Bank and S&P Global Market Intelligence. It secured the 19th spot, surpassing Mundra Port, managed by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd. (APSEZ), which ranked 27th.

The CPPI is a comparative assessment of port performance, primarily based on vessel time in port. Visakha Container Terminal Pvt. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of J. M. Baxi Ports & Logistics, operates a terminal at Visakhapatnam Port with a capacity of 1.35 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) on India’s eastern coast.

Ranking 405 global container ports by efficiency, the CPPI focused on the duration of port stays for container vessels. Its main objective is to identify improvement areas for stakeholders in global trade and supply chains, including ports, shipping lines, national governments, and consumers. The index evaluated ports with at least 24 valid port calls over the 12-month study period.

The fourth edition of the CPPI utilized its largest dataset to date, encompassing more than 182,000 vessel calls, 238.2 million moves, and about 381 million TEUs for 2023. Given that over 80% of merchandise trade is transported by sea, port resilience, efficiency, and overall performance are vital for global markets and economic development, as highlighted by the World Bank and S&P Global Market Intelligence.

China’s Yangshan Port held the top position for the second consecutive year, while Oman’s Port of Salalah maintained its second-place ranking. In the CPPI regional rankings for West, Central, and South Asia (from Saudi Arabia to Bangladesh), Visakhapatnam was ranked 18th, with Mundra at 22nd.

Mundra Port was ranked 22nd in the large ports category (handling over 4 million TEUs annually) in the CPPI by throughput, while the state-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Port was positioned at 90th. Visakhapatnam was ranked 18th in the medium ports category (handling between 0.5 million and 4 million TEUs annually), with Pipavav Port at 34th.

In overall rankings, Pipavav Port secured 41st place, followed by Kamarajar/Ennore Port at 47th, Kattupalli at 57th, Cochin at 63rd, Hazira at 68th, Krishnapatnam at 71st, Chennai at 80th, Jawaharlal Nehru Port at 96th, New Mangalore at 235th, and Syama Prasad Mookerjee at 242nd.

The CPPI 2023 noted that container ports are often significant sources of shipment delays, supply chain disruptions, additional costs, and reduced competitiveness. Poor port performance is marked by limited spatial and operational efficiency, maritime and landside access, and coordination among public agencies, leading to decreased predictability and reliability. Consequently, inefficient ports increase the cost of imports and exports, reduce competitiveness, and hinder economic growth and poverty reduction. This negative impact can severely affect national and regional economies, prompting numerous efforts to improve port performance.

Port performance is crucial for container shipping lines operating on fixed schedules with agreed-upon berth windows. Delays at any scheduled port can disrupt the entire service route, emphasizing the importance of port efficiency and turnaround time.

“While the challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic eased in 2023, container shipping remains unpredictable and volatile,” said Martin Humphreys, Lead Transport Economist at the World Bank. “Major ports must invest in resilience, new technology, and green infrastructure to stabilize global markets and ensure the shipping industry’s sustainability.”

Turloch Mooney, Head of Port Intelligence & Analytics at S&P Global Market Intelligence, added, “There is greater awareness and focus on the resilience and efficiency of maritime gateways. Poor port performance can disrupt entire schedules, increasing costs, reducing competitiveness, and hindering economic growth and poverty reduction.”

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