Hong Kong Port cargo throughput declines in third quarter of 2023

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4th December 2023 – (Hong Kong) The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) of Hong Kong has released the latest statistics on vessels, port cargo, and containers for the third quarter of 2023. According to the data, the total port cargo throughput experienced a decrease of 8.2% compared to the same period last year, reaching 45.3 million tonnes. Of this total, inward port cargo decreased by 5.9% to 28.9 million tonnes, while outward port cargo decreased by 11.9% to 16.4 million tonnes.

The figures for the first nine months of 2023 also indicate a decline in total port cargo throughput, with a decrease of 9.0% to 131.0 million tonnes compared to the previous year. Similarly, inward port cargo decreased by 8.3% to 83.4 million tonnes, and outward port cargo decreased by 10.2% to 47.6 million tonnes within the same period.

However, on a seasonally adjusted quarter-to-quarter basis, there was a marginal increase of 1.3% in total port cargo throughput during the third quarter of 2023. Inward port cargo saw a slight increase of 1.8%, while outward port cargo experienced a modest increase of 0.3% compared to the preceding quarter. The seasonally adjusted series provides a more meaningful short-term comparison to identify potential variations in trends.

Examining the specific categories of port cargo, the data reveals that seaborne cargo and river cargo experienced respective year-on-year decreases of 12.0% and 0.4% in the third quarter of 2023. In the first nine months of the year, seaborne cargo and river cargo declined by 12.4% and 1.5% compared to the previous year, amounting to 86.8 million tonnes and 44.2 million tonnes, respectively.

Analyzing the changes in port cargo by country, the report indicates significant decreases in the tonnage of inward port cargo loaded in Korea (-28.2%), Japan (-26.1%), Vietnam (-22.9%), the United States of America (-22.7%), and Taiwan (-15.4%) during the third quarter of 2023. Conversely, there was a double-digit increase in the tonnage of outward port cargo discharged in Australia (+24.8%). Similarly, comparing the first nine months of 2023 with the previous year, there were double-digit decreases in the tonnage of inward port cargo loaded in Vietnam (-30.5%), Taiwan (-27.0%), Japan (-24.1%), and Korea (-21.9%). For outward port cargo, double-digit decreases were recorded in the tonnage of cargo discharged in the United States of America (-34.3%), Taiwan (-32.3%), Japan (-22.5%), Korea (-20.0%), Vietnam (-19.1%), and Malaysia (-13.0%).

The report also provides insights into the changes in specific cargo categories. In terms of inward port cargo, double-digit changes were recorded in the tonnage of “petroleum, petroleum products and related materials” (+21.9%), “stone, sand and gravel” (+16.5%), “coal, coke and briquettes” (-12.6%), and “machinery” (-16.3%) when comparing the third quarter of 2023 to the same period the previous year. As for outward port cargo, double-digit changes were observed in the tonnage of “stone, sand and gravel” (+12.0%), “artificial resins and plastic materials” (-11.9%), “pulp and waste paper” (-15.2%), “live animals chiefly for food and edible animal products” (-16.3%), and “machinery” (-19.9%). Similar trends were noted when comparing the first nine months of 2023 to the previous year.

Turning to container statistics, the port of Hong Kong handled 3.67 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers in the third quarter of 2023, marking a decrease of 12.8% compared to the same period last year. Within this total, laden containers and empty containers decreased by 13.8% and 9.1% to 2.90 million TEUs and 0.77 million TEUs, respectively. Among laden containers, inward containers decreased by 14.9% to 1.55 million TEUs, while outward containers decreased by 12.5% to 1.35 million TEUs.

For the first nine months of 2023, the port of Hong Kong handled a total of 10.79 million TEUs of containers, representing a decrease of 14.6% compared to the previous year. Laden containers and empty containers decreased by 15.9% and 9.6% to 8.52 million TEUs and 2.27 million TEUs, respectively. According to the latest statistics from the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) of Hong Kong, the port cargo throughput in the third quarter of 2023 experienced a decline of 8.2% compared to the same period last year. The total port cargo throughput reached 45.3 million tonnes, with inward port cargo decreasing by 5.9% to 28.9 million tonnes and outward port cargo decreasing by 11.9% to 16.4 million tonnes.

When examining the figures for the first nine months of 2023, there was a decline of 9.0% in total port cargo throughput, amounting to 131.0 million tonnes. Inward port cargo decreased by 8.3% to 83.4 million tonnes, while outward port cargo decreased by 10.2% to 47.6 million tonnes within the same period.

However, on a seasonally adjusted quarter-to-quarter basis, there was a marginal increase of 1.3% in total port cargo throughput during the third quarter of 2023. Inward port cargo saw a slight increase of 1.8%, while outward port cargo experienced a modest increase of 0.3% compared to the preceding quarter.