Global loaded container traffic is on track to break the 200 million teu threshold this year for the first time ever, shipping consultancy Drewry said citing recent port and trade statistics.
“The Drewry Global Container Port Throughput Index shows no sign of slowing down, with the latest reading for September being nearly 10 points above the same month in 2016. Ignoring the monthly fluctuations, the trend has been relentlessly positive in 2017, following on from a more muted growth pattern last year,” Drewry explained.
The fastest growing regions were North America (+12.6%), Latin America (+11.1%) and China (10.3%); the slowest was Europe (4.4%), the index figures for September show.
Data gathered from CTS, PIERS and Datamar in a selection of key trades indicates that two-way traffic in some of the world’s largest trades was in the region of 4-5% higher after nine months of 2017.
In general, the “East-West” trades connecting Asia, North America and Europe, were strongest at +5% in aggregate, versus 3.4% for the sample of “North-South” routes.
The total increase across the sample group was 4.1 million teu, 30% of which derived from extra Intra-Asia (including Chinese domestic) activity. The next biggest contributions came from the big inter-continental Asia-Europe and Transpacific routes, which between them accounted for approximately another 43%, or 1.8 million teu of the additional traffic. The Asia-South Asia trade was by far the largest North-South contributor, adding another 270,000 teu to the sample total, Drewry added.
“Another factor that makes us more confident for the container demand outlook for this and next year is the improving macro-economic backdrop, with the IMF once again making a small upgrade of 0.1 points to both its 2017 and 2018 world GDP forecast. This follows similar incremental improvements made over the past year,” the shipping consultancy adds.
Despite the genuine momentum on the demand side, Drewry believes that carriers risk losing any benefits if they don’t address the supply issues they face.