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Industry trends

The way the world trades is changing

Growth in container throughput, ever-bigger vessels, and tightening environmental and safety requirements are increasing the pressure on terminal operations.

In addition to the growth in container traffic, the port and terminal industry is going through structural changes that are triggering investments and leading to growth in terminal capacities.

At Kalmar, we support our customers by helping them respond to these evolving requirements and industry trends.

Global trends affecting our business

The main trends affecting our business include global container traffic throughput volumes and business cycles in the heavy material handling industry. The growth inglobal trade is increasing cargo volumes.

Growth in container traffic

Global container throughput is expected to grow by around five per cent per year in the period to 2017.The fastest growing region is Asia, which is the hub for more than half of all traffic.

Growth in vessel size

The growth of marine transport has led to ship owners introducing increasingly larger vessels, capable of carrying thousands of containers at a time. In order to succeed in the terminal business, port operators must develop the capacity to serve a higher volume of larger vessels in a shorter period of time.

In addition, transshipment from these mega terminals to smaller ports will also continue to grow. Inland cargo traffic is shifting from road to rail, barges and other modes of transport. This structural change will lead to growth in terminal capacities.

Labour cost and availability

Labour and capital costs represent a significant proportion of a port’s overall costs, and in some areas ports are facing a shortage of skilled labour.


Sustainability is an integral part of any modern port’s operations. Suppliers like Kalmar help operators comply with increasingly strict emission requirements. At the same time, machines are becoming more intelligent and their environmental impact is decreasing.


In port and terminal environments, safety cannot be compromised. It is often the most important consideration for our customers.
Kalmar solutions and automation technology have helped our customers achieve significant improvements in both safety and productivity.

Industry consolidation

The potential future networks between shipping lines would set a new standard for operational efficiency. They would also accelerate the cascade effect, increasing the need for investmentand resulting in another level of container-flow planning for terminals.

Future directions

We believe that automation is the long-term answer to the industry’s requirements and an essential part of its future. It will enable port and terminal operators to adapt to the structural changes happening in the industry, respond to the demand for increased operational efficiency, and comply with the increasingly strict safety and environmental regulations.

We can provide complete turnkey solutions for integrated automated terminals, including terminal operating systems (TOSs), terminal logistics system (TLSs) and a wide range of equipment and services. We believe that ourability to integrate several components into a single seamless process is what brings true value for our customers.


Drewry is a specialist research and advisory organisation for the maritime sector.

Visit the Drewry website.

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