Drewry: Asia-East Coast North America container trade to cool
Volume growth in 2016 is unlikely to match the 15 percent growth rate seen last year despite the opening of new, expanded Panama Canal locks, according to the London-based consultant.The growth in container shipping volumes from Asia to the East Coast of North America this year is unlikely to match the strong increase seen in 2015, according to Drewry.
In its current issue of Container Insight Weekly, the London-based consultant says Asia-East Coast “Headhaul demand growth for the full year 2015 should settle at 15 percent but such a growth rate is unlikely to be repeated in 2016 even with the forthcoming opening of the widened Panama Canal.”
Eastbound volumes on the trade lane “rose 7.7 percent year-on-year in November – better than the recording for October but still a far cry from the heady double-digit growth rates that prevailed for well over a year until the end of the third quarter,” said Drewry.
“December figures for Asian exports bound for the core USEC market reveal an uplift of only 2.2 percent compared to a year earlier. In the same month, overall imports into the US from the Far East dipped by 0.8 percent, thus the eastern seaboard terminals are still outperforming their West Coast counterparts but the margin has shrunk.”
In an accompanying article, Drewry said, “A global recession cannot be discounted but the current bear run on stocks is not proof that one is imminent. Trade indicators might not be particularly strong but they haven’t weakened significantly in the last month to make us think world container traffic is about to go into reverse.”
“It is too early to tell if the latest stock market bearishness is indeed an early signal of a global recession, or simply herd-like panic, but as far as the prospects for container trade go there hasn’t been a significant change in the fundamentals to shift us from our current prognosis of continued muted growth in the short-to-medium term.”