Global Port Tracker report has a positive outlook for 2014

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Economic recovery prospects in North Europe appear to be on the right track, according to the most recent edition of the North Europe Global Port Tracker report produced by maritime consultancy Hackett Associates and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics.

A month ago, the report observed that the end of this year should be solid and lead to a sharp rebound in North America in 2014. And this month’s report did not indicate there was anything to quell that theory, explaining that after two years of negative growth, 2014 could be a turnaround year with positive import growth in the first half of the year in North Europe projected to be up 16 percent, with all of Europe, including the Mediterranean/Black Sea to be up 9 percent. The report expects 2014 exports out of North Europe to go from -5 percent to an 11 percent gain, due to positive economic momentum in Asia and the U.S.

Ports surveyed in North Europe Global Port Tracker report include the six major container reports in North Europe: le Havre, Antwerp, Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Bremen/Bremerhaven, and Hamburg.

Looking at 2013, the Global Port Tracker report said that in North Europe loaded incoming volumes are expected to end up down 1.3 percent to 15.8 million TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units), with total European incoming volumes pegged to rise 0.8 percent to 20.1 million TEU. For outgoing volumes, it is expecting a 0.7 percent increase at 17.5 million TEU, with total outgoing volumes up 0.7 percent at 20 million TEU.

Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett wrote in his analysis of the report that there could be a “benign circle of growth” over the next two years, while caution needs to be exercised with European confidence still “shaky,” coupled, with purchasing managers behind reluctant to concede the worst part of the economic downturn in Europe is over.

Even with some hesitance in Europe, Hackett told LM in an interview that it looks like a positive change is coming, with the modest expectations reflecting just how dire the European economy has been in recent years.

“We also expect the remainder of the year to be decent or at least better than it has been,” said Hackett. “September was miserable to a large degree but October and November should be better. The reason September was off is because the European Peak Season is later than it is in North America and it occurs in late October into early November.”

Another factor for an improved outlook cited in the report is the combination of improved consumer confidence and supply side growth with super large and efficient container ships being in sync, according to Michael Tasto, co-author of the report from the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics.

Hackett said that in order to get 5-to-6 percent a growth rate for 12-to-13 million TEU vessels, the capacity requirement goes up quickly.


About the Author

Jeff Berman
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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