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Global Port Tracker report reflects effects of financial woes in Europe

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
November 28, 2011

The financial crisis in Europe and overall economic uncertainty are continuing to extend the trend of flattish and slightly declining volumes, according to the most recent edition of the Global Port Tracker Report from Hackett Associates and the Bremen Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics.

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

According to the report, total container volumes at these ports were estimated to have decreased by 1.1 percent from August to September at 3.41 million TEU (Twenty-foot equivalent Units), with September up 4.3 percent annually and 8 percent year-to-date through September. Year-to-date imports and exports were up 9.6 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively. September imports hit 1.78 million TEU, and exports came in at 1.43 million TEU.

For the entire third quarter, the Global Port Tracker noted that total volume was 5.76 million TEU, which represents a 1.1 percent dip from the second quarter and a 4.1 percent increase over the third quarter of 2010. Exports at 4.4 million TEU were up 9.4 percent annually.

Looking ahead, the report said that annual declines for imports are expected in the next four quarters and on the export side declines are expected in three of the next four quarters.

Ben Hackett, president of Hackett Associates, explained in a statement that “pessimistic comments by…various intra governmental institutions may lead to a growing lack of consumer confidence which will create the recession that is said to be looming as most of the Northern European countries mark down their projections for 2012 GDP growth.”

In a recent interview, Hackett said that sluggish volumes are up against the the backdrop of a very difficult financial situation in Europe, which includes the financial crisis in Greece, and the recently-held Eurozone meeting among leaders of European nations to help resolve the European debt crisis.

“Without an agreement, it spells a major crisis for the Euro and will probably leave Greece hanging out on its own, with Spain and Italy not far behind,” said Hackett. “It will be make or break for Greece with the Euro not far behind.”

What’s more, the potential impact on global trade due to these circumstances could be devastating, said Hackett, as it could cause a financial crisis as the banks try to avoid losing huge sums of money on Greece and loans, coupled with consumers cutting back on non-essential purchases altogether.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

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. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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