Global Port Tracker report calls for significant 2012 export and import declines
July 02, 2012 - LM Editorial
The ongoing economic malaise in Eurozone nations is not likely to see any meaningful signs of improvement in the near future. That was the main message in 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.
“Trade volumes remain on the decline,” said Ben Hackett, president of Hackett Associates, in a statement. “North European import growth rates are sliding towards flat to negative territory and exports have been flat for some months. The latest news from the industrial heartland of Germany suggests that we shall see exports declining in the coming six months.”
The report noted that the 2012 growth rate for European imports will be around 1.5 percent—less than one third of the 2011 import tally. What’s more, the report’s authors explained that North Europe will continue to be weak with most of its countries in or near a recession as defined by negative GDP growth.
Exports are also expected to be down, with a 3 percent growth rate, representing one-third of 2011 export numbers.
These estimates match up well with activity for the six Northern Europe-based ports in the Global Port Tracker report. Outbound volumes and inbound volumes for these ports are expected to be up 5.2 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively, in 2012 compared to 2011, representing sharp annual declines. And annual gains are expected in only three of the next six months and three of the four next quarters.
Hackett Associates President Ben Hackett told LM in a recent interview that these projections portend a very weak European Peak Season.
“There are already reports out there saying that many ocean carriers are delaying or suspending their Peak Season surcharges,” he said. “That is not a good sign. It means shipments are expected to substantially weaken.”
Should the situation in Europe continue to worsen, it could have a trickle down effect on the United States economy, too, in the form of lower consumer confidence, Hackett explained. This would likely lead to a higher personal savings rate in the U.S., with the after effect being lower trade levels, with the warning signs on the economy.
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