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PORTS PRIMED FOR INVESTMENT SURGE

By Richard Hepworth, managing director of Trelleborg Marine Systems

Ports primed for investment surge

It’s immensely pleasing, despite the global downturn, that port owners contractors and consultants are optimistic enough to predict that capital expenditure will rise or at least stay the same over the next 12 months.

At least that was the view of most (55%) decision makers we polled last year as part of a comprehensive market report on the ports, harbours and terminal sector. The Barometer Report, conducted with Port Strategy magazine, also revealed that operational expenditure will remain at current levels or increase with 60% backing this claim.

The apparent optimism is good for the market and good for the economies of the world, which need investment in the global ports to drive trading growth. But I must also sound a note of caution. While the short term outlook is much improved, our research also reveals that these decision makers don’t necessarily expect investment to return to the levels we enjoyed a few years ago. Almost two thirds think it could be less or, at best, static.

The risk of this is only too real. There is a fear that not enough investment will come through to offset the reduction in maintenance we’ve witnessed during the global recession. Ports, harbours and terminals need to embrace the ethos of making adequate investment now to ward off the future costs of downtime.

Trelleborg’s Barometer Report, which details a wide range of findings from the industry survey, is available now as a free download from Takes the Pressure Off.