Global Port Tracker report says 2011 growth path remains intact

European import and export volumes are off to a decent start, according to the most recent edition of the Global Port Tracker report from Hackett Associates and the Bremen Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics.

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European import and export volumes are off to a decent start, 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.

The report stated that it forecasts January export volumes at 1.24 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU), which is 7.4 percent less than December 2010 but 11.5 percent better than January 2010. Imports, on the other hand, nearly hit the 2 million TEU mark—at 1.98 million TEU—for a 16 percent annual gain and 6.7 percent ahead of December 2010.

And it added that it is calling for total Europe-bound imports for the first quarter to be up 7.3 percent over the fourth quarter of 2010 for what would be a 14.1 percent increase over the first quarter of 2010. Exports are projected to post single-digit annual gains in each of the next six months, with month-on-month declines projected in two of those months, according to the report, and import and export growth is expected in each of the next four quarters.

Hackett Associates President Ben Hackett said in an interview that January numbers and the first half of February are looking very positive, due to the timing of the Chinese New Year, which will likely be followed by a decline in March as manufacturing traditionally shuts down in China because of the Chinese New Year.

“The first half of the year is looking to be marginally stronger than last year, as we are not likely to see the growth we did from 2009 to 2010 for a number of reasons,” said Hackett. “One reason being the austerity packages in place in Europe, which are taking some consumer income away that cannot go towards purchases, and for the first half of the year we have lowered our total growth prediction in light of what is happening in Japan and it may need to be reduced further in the future as we continue to monitor the situation.”

Hackett added that with more capacity coming online that he expects freight rates to stay relatively weak for the next three or four months before possibly heading up around mid-year.

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About the Author

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. Contact Jeff Berman

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