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Last Quarter of 2017, Rhythm of Container Transportation Research

Container Tracking

Last Quarter of 2017, Rhythm of Container Transportation Research

1. Introduction is a digital platform which provides services to users in container transportation ecosystem in more than 190 countries. Container tracking and searching routes between all ports in world services are provided by the platform and the platform has been increasing the number of its users day by day. An increase in this naturally provides abundant data which allows researchers to share the data with the public.
Rhythm of the Container Transportation Research is shared with the public every month. The purposes of the study are;
   - Revealing the website users’ carrier preferences
   - Finding the most searched 10 routes        
   - Determining international trade volume in Cntracking and
   - Measuring transit times by taking Turkey ports as origin
   - Analyzing Turkey’s 4th Quarter of 2017 foreign trade
2. Research Area
The research was conducted through the compilation of anonymous data of 41,713 different users’ actions within in Q4 of 2017. In Q4, users logged in to platform 83,476 times while average of the log in per month was 27,825. While average session period in Q4 was 2 minutes and 20 second for each user, Cntracking pages have viewed 186,595 times in three months from 190 countries around the world. Cntracking's average monthly page views are 62,198.

Table 1. Cntracking platform users has been visited by 41,713 users from over 190 countries around the world. The platform has been used mostly by Turkey-based users (31.52% in Q4).  Indian users follow them with 9.18%. USA, is the third country in the list (5.28%). While United Arab Emirates citizens take the 4th place with 4.31%, Egypt has become 5th with 3.20%. In the last quarter, the rankings of the top 5 most visited countries have remained unchanged, while their visit rates remained stable with some fluctuations.
The list continues with Pakistan and Germany (respectively 2.51% and 2.38%). Spain (2.23%) and Bangladesh (1.93%) have taken their place at the top 10 list with being 8th and 9th  respectively. Lastly with 1.57% rate Nigeria citizens are the 10th in Q4.
Table 2: Distribution of Cntracking platform users by country in Q4-2017

3. Key Findings of the Study


Key findings of the study are covered in four main sections;


3.1 The Carrier Preferences of Website Users 

The container tracking module, which is one of the online services of Cntracking, has ability to record carrier for each tracked container and shows the most preferred shipping line for container based maritime trade. According to the users’ container tracking demand in November 2017, the most favorite shipping lines and their preferences are given in Table 3. The table also gives a comparison of the rate with the previous months. 
The most preferred shipping line in Q4 was Maersk Line with a quite small difference. MSC and Maersk Line always have very close preferences rate each month and one of them takes the first place with very slight differences. (For instance, in November, MSC became the most preferred shipping line with only 0.07% difference from Maersk Line. However, Maersk Line became most preferred Shipping Line of Q4 with 0.30% differences). 
Also, some differences in other shipowners have been observed. Although COSCO saw more demand in October and November, with the December results, CMA CGM was the 4th most preferred shipowner after COSCO with only 0.10% difference. The preference rate of other ship owners in the last quarter is 38.63%.
Table 3. The Website Users’ Carrier Preferences: Q4-2017 

 3.2 Most Searched Routes

In Q4, 41,713 users from over 190 countries around the world made 49,712 searches for shipping trade routes. The most searched Turkey-based shipping routes are given in Table 4. Istanbul(Ambarlı)-Jebel Ali(UAE) was at the top of the list. Ambarlı Port was the most searched one. Mersin port followed Ambarlı Port in Q4. Another port which enters the list was Gebze Port. Although Turkey has many more container ports, they were not able to enter the list.
Destination of the Turkey-based routes usually were Middle East, Asia and Africa in Q4. These routes show the direction of Turkey’s foreign trade.
According to 2017 trade statistics of Turkish Statistics Institute (TUIK), European countries such as Germany and UK were also important countries in terms of foreign trade. However, there were few searches for Turkey-based European shipping route in the platform. One of the reasons of this might be that because big portion of Turkey-Europe trade is carried out through road rather than sea.
Table 4. Top 10 Route Between Turkey and Other Countries Port in Q4-2017 
Service Finder Module is one of the Cntracking online solutions that gives the user information about shipping trade routes, transit times of each route, and shipping lines that provide services for each route etc. Thanks to the module, the users can collect the required information and plan their shipments accordingly. The list of top 10 global shipping trade routes that were most searched by Cntracking users in Q4 is given in Table 5. The users especially wanted to be informed about Middle East, African and Asian routes in Q4. Jebel Ali-Beirut and Mundra-Johannesburg were the most demanded routes of the month with the same rate: 0.08%.
Jebel Ali-Umm Qasr and Nhava Sheva-Chittagong ranked 2nd with a 0.06% same search rate. New York-Istanbul and Jebel Ali-Mersin also had the same rate 0.05% and became the 3rd most searched routes of Q4. The list continues with Shanghai-Mersin, Alexandria-Thessaloniki and Alexandria-Bandar Abbas. Lastly, the 10th most searched shipping trade route in Q4 was Barcelona-Doha with 0,01%.
Table 5. Top 10 Global Routes Searched in Q4-2017 

3.3 Determining International Trade Volume in Cntracking

Cntracking users can track their import and export container online. The total volume of container which has been tracked during every month for each route gives the trade volume of the route as well. In this respect, top 5 container routes the most tracked in Q4 2017 is given in Table 6 and China-Iran route is the most tracked one with 5.6%.
Turkey-UAE and Turkey-UK take the 2nd and 4th in the Q4 (with 3.7% and 3.2% respectively), and China-Turkey and China-USA routes take the 3rd and 5th places respectively. It is also seen in Table 6 that global trade is mainly dominated by China.
Table 6. Top 5 Busiest Routes in Q4 2017
The countries which mostly trade with each other also can be found by container tracking data.  Table 7 shows the 5 countries to/from which import-export container tracking has been made most. The countries with which Turkey trade most are UAE, UK, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Israel. The containers tracked from Turkish ports comprise 34.9% of the whole trade data collected.
Similarly, 22.5% of containers are loaded in China and goes to Iran, Turkey, Brazil, USA, and India. 6% of containers are shipped from India to UAE, Saudi Arabia, USA, Madagascar and Turkey in Q4. 3.7% of the containers are shipped in USA to Georgia, Australia, Ghana, India, Nigeria. Lastly, Russia’s (3.6%) trade was basically with India, China, Egypt, Pakistan and Israel in Q4.
Table 7. Trading Volume Ratios According to Cntracking Container Tracking Data from the point of Exporting
Table 8 shows the Cntracking port-to-port container tracking data and it is seen that 31.3% of the tracked containers were shipped to Turkey, UAE, India, Iran and USA. The containers which were discharged in Turkey comprises 7.43% of all container tracking. 7.43% of the tracked containers were shipped to Turkey from China, Brazil, UK and Taiwan. The United Arab Emirates second country to which containers are shipped most. 6.07% of the total tracked containers were discharged at UAE. Turkey, India, Singapore and Canada-loaded containers are destinated to the UAE ports in Q4. India follows UAE in the list. India-discharged containers are 5.97% of the total tracking of the platform. Apparently, India received containers mostly from Australia, Russia, China and Turkey. Iran is the 4th in the list with slight difference of 0.02% and import mostly from China, Tanzania, Australia, and Italy respectively. Lastly, the United States takes the 5th in the list by generating 5.88% of total tracking. The containers destinated to USA are mostly shipped from China, Turkey, India and Germany.
Table 8. Trading Volume Ratios According to Cntracking Container Tracking Data From Point of Importing
3.4 Transit Times Of Routes by Taking Turkey Ports as Departure: Q4 - 2017
Turkey based maximum/minimum transit times and fluctuations of shipping trade routes is given in Table 9. Cntracking has been recording maximum and minimum transit time for each shipping trade route so that transit time volatility can be determined for each route. In Q4 Gemlik-Doha(Qatar) shipping route was the most inconsistent route with its 25 days fluctuation. Istanbul(Ambarlı)-Doha(Qatar) and Gemlik-Jebel Ali(UAE) shipping routes followed it with a difference of 22 days and 15 days respectively.
On the other hand, Gemlik-Alexandria(Egypt) transit time difference is recorded as 1 day, while 5 day differences have been recorded for the following routes: Mersin-Casablanca(Morocco), Izmir-Ashdod(Israel), İzmir-Jebel Ali(BAE), İzmit-Jebel Ali(BAE), Mersin-Doha(Qatar). The fluctuations in the other shipping routes can be examined in Table 9.
Table 9. Routes’ Transit Times by Taking Turkey Ports as Origin: Q4 2017
*This table is based on the most searched routes originating from Turkey.
3.5 Comments on International Trade of Turkey
According to Cntracking data, Turkey is the most exporting country, and 34.9% of the total containers are loaded in Turkey. United Arab Emirates is the biggest importer from Turkey and UAE is followed by UK, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Israel. This data is consistent with Turkey's geographical location and foreign trade data.
The countries which geographically close countries such as Germany, France, Greece, Iraq and Iran prefers road transportation for trade with Turkey while Italy prefers Ro-Ro transportation.  That’s why trade with these countries do not have high share in Cntracking data, even though they are the Turkey’s top exporting countries. Conversely, some European countries such England and Spain with which Turkey carries out seaborne trade appear in the Cntracking data. As the trade through road transportation is dangerous, Turkey’s trade with such countries as Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE has rather been limited. As an overall result, Cntracking data covers Turkey’s seaborne trade with England, Spain, Israel, Saudi Arabia and UAE.  According to TUIK, only in November Turkey exported 2.2 Billion $ worth goods to these 5 countries. 
However, despite the increase in Turkey's exports in the fourth quarter, the share of Turkey in Cntracking data decreased slightly. The reason for this might be the increase in Turkey's exports, to countries which trading with more by highway.
Figure: International trade volume of Turkey

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