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Weak European economy leads to modest growth projections in Global Port Tracker report

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
April 03, 2013

Vast and sustained economic issues in Europe continue to plague growth, and the situation does not appear to show any meaningful signs of abating, 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.

As previously reported, myriad difficult economic circumstances in the Eurozone, including unemployment, consumer confidence, and especially tight fiscal policies have served as drivers in the continent’s economy continuing to head for a contraction, which will further hinder trade activity there.

This was heightened by the fact that earlier this week the euro zone jobless rate hit 12.0 percent in the first two months of the year, according to a New York Times report.

“Do not expect the Northern European economies to recover from their economic doldrums,” said Ben Hackett, president of Hackett Associates, in the report.

Hackett added that the primary reason for this is that consumers in Europe are reluctant to spend their income in times of economic doubts, coupled with the fact that imports are expected to stagnate throughout 2013 in the regions covered by the report.

These circumstances, according to the report, portend a very weak 2013 overall, with the Global Port Tracker report calling for total 2013 volumes to be up 1.0 percent annually at 40.1 million TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units).

Looking at the capacity environment in the ocean cargo market at the moment, Hackett told LM in a recent interview that available capacity is increasing due to the number of new ships coming online.

“Overall, capacity is rising,” he said. “Our belief is that there will be consolidation among carriers this year. Raising rates, though, will be tough with volumes still low and new capacity coming.”

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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