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Worldwide container throughput sinks further

Drewry figures show no sign of upswing.
Global trade falls are particularly affecting ports in the Asia-Pacific region.
Global trade falls are particularly affecting ports in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Drewry Shipping Consultants’ latest report has stated that February’s preliminary port figures record a 19.6% decline over the same period in 2008. The results are worse than the agency’s January revised figures, which showed a drop of 16.5%.

Asia-Pacific trade, which accounts for half of the world’s container volumes, is at the heart of this loss, and Drewry states that “there are no real signs of any recovery yet.” Large slides at the ports of Hong Kong and Shanghai are evidence of the decline in Chinese exports to the US and Europe.

A major problem has been the growth in TEU capacity, which is 11.1% above the same period last year, despite the huge fall in capacity.

“Carriers are doing their best to control global capacity, but their efforts are not enough to compensate for poor levels of demand and so freight rates remain low. The most recent data from Asian ports must worry carriers, as most of them reveal 2008 financial results indicating heavy slumps in profitability,” said the Drewry Shipping Consultants report.

“A great deal now rests on carrier ability to enforce significant April rate increases in the core Asia to Europe trade, which will also have important ramifications for any potential success in the 2009/10 contract re-negotiations on the transpacific route,” added the report. 
 

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