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Friday, 01 May 2020 13:07

WPSP COVID19 Port Economic Impact Barometer for Week 18 reports stabilization or slight improvements

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Upcoming reports will deep dive into regional results, commencing with Europe next week

Of the seventy six ports surveyed across the globe in this week’s WPSP Port Economic Impact Barometer Report, the majority report a relatively stable situation compared to the previous weeks, with slight improvements noted in some areas of port continuity.

The situation for container vessel calls shows a mixed picture compared to the situation in the previous weeks. On the one hand, more than half of the respondents now report a rather stable situation (vs. 41% last week), a figure similar to the situation in weeks 15 and 16. On the other hand, the share of ports facing significant decreases in container vessel calls (in excess of a 25% drop) climbs to 11%, compared to less than 10% last week and only 2-3% in the first two survey weeks. The situation for the other cargo vessels is slightly improving with more ports now even reporting increases in vessel calls.

The situation for container vessel calls shows a mixed picture compared to the situation in the previous weeks. On the one hand, more than half of the respondents now report a rather stable situation (vs. 41% last week), a figure similar to the situation in weeks 15 and 16. On the other hand, the share of ports facing significant decreases in container vessel calls (in excess of a 25% drop) climbs to 11%, compared to less than 10% last week and only 2-3% in the first two survey weeks. The situation for the other cargo vessels is slightly improving with more ports now even reporting increases in vessel calls.

Less delays are being reported due to port call procedure changes. In terms of capacity in ports, including warehousing and distribution activities, we see an improvement compared to last weeks, with limited capacity shortages for foodstuffs, medical supplies and consumer goods. For bulk goods there are a growing number of ports even reporting underutilisation. Notably, there have been no significant increases in restrictions on cargo vessels, with some ports now receiving cruise ships via dedicated anti-COVID 19 safe corridors using temperature control and medical inspections to allow crew to reach their own final destinations.

On the intermodal side, some ports are suffering additional complications for cross-border cargo transits. Overall though, rail, barge and truck availability have improved across the majority of ports surveyed. There has been a slight uptick in shortage of dockworkers, technical nautical services personnel and the incidence of staff being placed on social wage schemes.

Barometer co-author Professor Theo Notteboom commented : “In quite a few countries, several industries will head back to work on May 4. It remains to be seen what adjustments ports will need to make, and what will be the effect of this partial ‘reopening’ of the respective economies.”

His colleague Professor Thanos Pallis added : “We now have sufficient data to deep dive into regional trends. This will start with an analysis of ports in the European region next week, with other regions to follow.”

News release contact details :

World Ports Sustainability Program - Victor Shieh, Communications Partner :

Tel : +32 473 980 855

Technical enquiries:

World Ports Sustainability Program - Dr. Antonis Michail, Technical Director : 

You can provide input on your port's response to COVID-19 in the survey and contact our Task Force experts by email on

About IAPH (iaphworldports.org)

Founded in 1955, the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) is a non-profit-making global alliance of 170 ports and 140 port-related organisations covering 90 countries. Its member ports handle more than 60 percent of global maritime trade and around 80 percent of world container traffic. IAPH has consultative NGO status with several United Nations agencies. In 2018, IAPH established the World Ports Sustainability Program (WPSP). Guided by the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, it aims to unite sustainability efforts of ports worldwide, encouraging international cooperation between all partners involved in the maritime supply chain. WPSP (sustainableworldports.org) covers five main areas of collaboration: energy transition, resilient infrastructure, safety and security, community outreach and governance.

Photograph: Markus Spiske | Source: Unsplash

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