New survey finds port investments delayed

69% of the surveyed ports reported that the majority of their investment plans have been delayed.

The International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH)’s new report found that new port investments are on hold.  The latest report summarized responses from 85 ports from around the world.

69% of the surveyed ports reported that the majority of their investment plans have been delayed in some way or even amended. 41% of the reporting ports informed that the delays in investment have been, at least for the moment, minor. Due to the changing conditions, major investment delays are occurring in 19% of the ports. 

A few ports (4%) have decided to shelve or cancel existing investment plans, while 3% of respondents have already decided to replace specific investments by other ones. 

Notably, three of the surveyed ports reported that given the emerging conditions they decided to accelerate their existing investment plans and execute them faster than initially scheduled.

Co-author Professor Thanos Pallis commented: “In some cases existing delays are happening due to difficulties in obtaining authorization by regional, federal, and/or national administrations. In other cases, they are happening due to delays by third party contractors, most likely attributable in part to availability of workers affected by the COVID-19 situation. 

“However, in some ports the observed delays seem to be part of longer-term adjustments with ports re-assessing investments once market conditions will allow for a clearer view of the total impact of COVID-19 on social aspects and market demand.”

Projects already commenced during the pre-COVID-19 period continue as planned, but new investments are on hold; some ports reported that they have already decided to postpone scheduled investments for one year. 

Plans for investments in infrastructure for the cruise industry are questioned more than others, with discussions on-going. Other ports stated that investments in new cruise terminals have been shelved for the time being, with port authorities waiting to know more about the cruise development prospects first before reassessing their potential. All these factors make the case for further monitoring the evolution of the investment plans of ports.

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