Drewry’s Annual Review of Global Container Terminal Operators, released in August, shows that PSA International, Hutchison Ports, APM Terminals and DP World remain the big four players in equity teu and portfolio terms but with varying levels of activity– DP World and APM Terminals are highly active in terms of acquisitions, divestments and greenfield developments, Hutchison moderately active and PSA less so. ICTSI and TIL are also particularly active in terms of portfolio expansion.
There is a clear focus on growth opportunities in emerging markets by those global/international terminal operators which are expanding. Major shipping lines meanwhile have been selling stakes in terminals to raise cash – but usually retaining majority control. The deals involving CMA CGM’s Terminal Link and MSC/TIL have been the most significant. Most carriers have seen little change in their terminal portfolios as a result, adopting a holding rather than expansion policy. Several players not currently categorised by Drewry as global/international terminal operators are growing fast and have a strong appetite for international expansion, including China Merchants, Gulftainer, Bolloré and Yildirim. Others such as GPI, SAAM Ports, Ultramar and Ports America and are also making selected expansions or seeking to acquire. Certain key financial and infrastructure investors are also active, notably GIP and Mitsui. The report’s editor, Neil Davidson says: “Within the global/international terminal operator club there are widely varying strategies and levels of activity. Some operators are very active with their portfolios whilst others are seeing little change. More M&A activity is highly likely, especially in carrier owned portfolios. Plus, waiting in the wings, there are a number of aggressive new players, some of which will soon qualify as global/international operators.”