Seaborne container transport witnessed continuing growth for decades based on the appealing idea to move standard containers instead of break bulk to improve combined transport. The shift in economic balance to Asia and the southern hemisphere has happened with unpredicted speed and scale. Today, ports of manufacturing powerhouse China handle 1/3 of all seaborne containers. It is expected that increasing demand from new consumer classes in emerging economies as well as a recovery of consumption in developed economies will fuel trade growth.

The market report "Container Terminal Foresight 2020" looks at the past, current and future supply and demand side of the container terminal industry and consists of 3 separate sections plus executive summary:

  1. Executive Summary of sections 2-4
  2. Global Container Throughput
    • Review of the world and seaborne trade, plus megatrends
    • Container freight industry -
      market structure and performance of involved companies
    • Development of the containership fleet
    • Projection of global and regional container throughput,
      based on a newfound approach
  3. Container Terminal Projects
    • Past and present capacity development and utilization
    • Sum up of over 430 container terminal projects
      scheduled to deliver 560 TEUm additional capacity
    • Analysis of the future regional supply/demand situation
  4. Container Handling Equipment
    • Review & outlook for each market segment -
      from STS cranes down to terminal tractors


Global container throughput is projected to increase from 650 TEUm in 2013 to 985 TEUm in 2020, achieving a 6.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). The forecast is based on a projection of international imports & exports (IMEX) of manufactures.


PAST During the past two decades global value chains have been established and the trade of manufactures accelerated, resulting in 9% average annual growth of container throughput +9.0% CAGR 1993–2013

PRESENT Container throughput in the last two years fell short of expectations, especially considering the high growth rates in 2010 & 2011.

YOY GROWTH in %20122013
Far East4.22.0

FUTURE The forecast is based on Import and exports (IMEX) of manufactures instead of GDP growth. IMEX has a higher correlation and a higher overlap with container throughput than GDP growth. +6.1% CAGR 2013–2020


  • This section targets at upcoming container terminal projects and likely future capacity development. Basis of the analysis is a project list covering over 430 container terminal projects scheduled to deliver 360 TEUm of new capacity till 2020 and 200 TEUm of new capacity beyond 2020.

  • The future supply/demand situation is assessed based on the assumption that all identified projects would be executed as announced. It is assumed that announced capacity additions are in line, below or above market demand, depending on how they relate to today’s throughput. Results are presented on a country-by-country basis, as e.g.


    (What if all projects would be executed as announced?)

    29 TEUm new capacity will be build in Americas 2014 - 2016, equaling 31% of today’s throughput.

    Throughput is forecasted to increase by 16% in the same period of time. The overall supply/demand balance will not shift from current low utilization rates.

    CHART: Additional capacity in TEUm and in % of 2013 throughput on a country level.

    Supply Equals Demand
    Low Additional Excess Capacity
    Medium Additional Excess Capacity
    High Additional Excess Capacity


  • This section targets on the past, present and future development of container terminal equipment. From STS cranes down to terminal tractors a comprehensive overview of the market development and competitors is included.

    The market size for original container handling equipment reached a total of approximately US$ 5.7 bn in 2013. The market development has been volatile, due to the investment behavior of container terminal operators.

  • The diverse types of equipment can be aggregated in two general market segments: the market for quay & yard equipment and the market for mobile equipment. Although several companies serve both markets, market participants and market structure differs.

    Quay & Yard Equipment

    The top 5 companies combined covered nearly 90% of the market in 2013.

    Mobile Equipment

    The top 5 companies combined covered approximately 65% of the market.


Curriculum Vitae The report has been compiled by Mr. Daniel Schäfer, who has a background as a professional market analyst for nearly 15 years within diverse industries. The "Container Terminal Foresight 2020" is his third market report on the issue since the year 2003.

Before he started his own business in 2014, he was employed for many years with an international renewable energy company and a consultancy.

Container Terminal Foresight 2020

Daniel Schäfer
Hauptstraße 46
D-01683 Rothschönberg

Mobile+49 171 6974549

Daniel Schäfer