EU Supply Chains Still Under Pressure

North Europe Global Port Tracker report forecasts "benign circle of growth"

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The most recent edition of the North Europe Global Port Tracker report produced by maritime consultancy Hackett Associates and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics points to decent overall growth in 2014.
Ports surveyed in North Europe Global Port Tracker report include the six major container reports in North Europe: le Havre, Antwerp, Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Bremen/Bremerhaven, and Hamburg.

The report is calling for total imports to Europe to be up 5.1 percent, loaded incoming volumes to be up 4.3 percent, with loaded outgoing volumes expected to see a 4.8 percent boost.  These numbers are comprised of deep-sea, empties, transshipment, and intra-European short sea traffic, according to the report.

Through the month of April, which is the most recent month for which data is available, total volume handled by the ports monitored in the report was up 2.7 percent compared to the same period in 2013. Imports at these ports are up 3.2 percent through April, and exports are up 3.9 percent. For May-to-October period, Global Port Tracker is forecasting total moves to be up 6.9 percent compared to the same period in 2013, which was up 6.1 percent, with imports projected to head up 6.7 percent compared to the previous six months.

Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said in the report that as the European Central Bank continues with its extremely low interest rate policy, the demand side of the equation remains firmly in the hands of the consumer boosted in confidence with solid growth in England and Germany.

Hackett recently noted that there could be a “benign circle of growth” over the next two years, while caution needs to be exercised with European confidence still “shaky,” coupled, with purchasing managers behind reluctant to concede the worst part of the economic downturn in Europe is over.

Even with some hesitance in Europe, Hackett said that it looks like a positive change is coming, with the modest expectations reflecting just how dire the European economy has been in recent years.

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