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Ocean shipping: Global Port Tracker report calls for modest growth on the horizon

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
June 29, 2011

Keeping in line with its previous projection of growth for import and export container volumes in Europe, the monthly Port Tracker report from Hackett Associates and the Bremen Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics expects volumes to be mostly flat through October, with increased expected in four of the next six months.

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 Global Port Tracker Report, 1.94 million TEU (Twenty-foot equivalent units) total container volumes at these ports in April are estimated to have decreased 2.1 percent from March to 3.29 million TEU (Twenty-foot equivalent units) and increased 7.6 percent on an annual basis.

A total of 1.94 million TEU were reported to have been imported to and 1.39 million TEU exported from Europe in April for a 1.9 percent and 7.7 percent decrease, respectively, from March.

And it added that increases of roughly 3 percent are forecasted in the second and third quarters for incoming volumes, with outgoing volumes projected to increase by 5 percent in the second quarter and 2.6 percent in the third quarter.

Given the modest growth projections, the report’s authors explained that various national austerity packages in Europe, slow economic growth, and increasing fuel and food prices, coupled with weakening consumer sentiment are all factoring into a decrease in imports.

“We have seen a continued weakening of the lack of consumer demand,” said Ben Hackett, president of Hackett Associates, in an interview. “Consumers have a bit of angst and fear about what the future holds in Europe and are concerned about Greece, and the dip of the Euro, which is leading to a cutback in consumption.”

What’s more, he noted that some carriers are cancelling certain services ahead of what is normally the outset of the Peak Season and represents another indication of how things are slowing down.

With demand on the weak side, Hackett said that ocean vessel supply is increasing in conjunction with rates decreasing, which, he said, could likely lead to ships being laid up until consistent demand returns.

Imports at the ports tracked in the report are projected to increase 8.2 percent this year, which is down from 2010’s 12.6 percent increase. And exports are expected to rise 10.9 percent, making it roughly even with 2010.

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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